Green Hotels Association
    July 2017  


It may be a slippery slope
for bar soap as consumers
turn to liquids

When it comes to soap, fewer Americans are hitting the bar. The reason? They say they simply can't be bothered.

More than half of consumers—55%—say bar soap is inconvenient when compared to liquid varieties, according to a new report by research firm Mintel. Among their chief complaints: Bar soaps leave residue in the shower, require a dish for storage, and aren't as long-lasting as liquid options.

As a result, sales of what was once a shower mainstay have been slipping for years. Bar soap sales dipped 2.2% between 2014 and 2015, while overall sales of bath and shower products grew 2.7% during the same period, according to Mintel.

Today, 64% of US consumers use bar soap in some capacity, although men and older Americans are more likely to do so. The survey found 53% of men said they were willing to wash their faces with bar soap, while just 36% of women agreed to the same.



Researchers also found a generational divide: "Sometimes suffering from an old fashioned image, bar soap is more widely accepted among more mature Americans, with as many as 60% of those aged 65 and happy to use bar soap on their face, a figure that declines to just one third (33%) of those aged 25-34."

An earlier study by Mindel found millennials are eschewing cereal for similar reasons. Forty percent of those surveyed by Mindel said "cereal was an inconvenient breakfast choice because they had to clean up after eating it," according to The New York Times. As a result, cereal sales have slipped by nearly 30% since 2000.

"Convenience is the one thing that's really changing trends these days," Howard Telford, an analyst at market research firm Euromonitor, told The Washington Post last year.

But when it comes to soap, the perception of cleanliness may also be a factor. Nearly half of those surveyed said they believe bar soaps are often covered in germs, a view that was more widely held among younger consumers than older ones.

However, it may not be all bad news for bar soap. More than 60% of consumers said they might consider buying "premium" varieties of the item, which could help companies reclaim lost business, according to Margie Nanninga, a beauty analyst for Mintel.

"A broader variety of scents can help bar soap brands tap into the success of aromatherapy claims, positioning lemon as an energizing scent or amber as a relaxing fragrance," she said in an email, adding that brands may also begin offering bar soap in "a greater variety of shapes."

Bhattarai, Abha, It may be a slippery slope for bar soap as
consumers turn to liquids, houstonchronicle.com/business/
article/It-may-be-a-slippery-slope-for-bar-soap-as-9180839.
php, Washington Post, August 23, 2016

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Bar Soaps

More than half of consumers (55%) say bar soap is inconvenient. Their chief complaints: Bar soaps leave residue in the shower, require a dish for storage, and aren't as long-lasting as liquid options.


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