Unilever, the global leader in home products, has experienced impressive growth in its Prestige Beauty sector during the first quarter of this year. The company achieved positive revenue gains across all divisions, with Beauty & Personal Care’s underlying sales increasing by 2.3% to €5 billion. This growth can be attributed to a 1.5% rise in volume and a 0.8% increase in pricing. Unilever’s Prestige Beauty business also performed exceptionally well, with strong double-digit growth. This success is mainly due to the reopening and restocking of physical stores in the United States. Skincare and haircare both saw a mid-single-digit growth rate, while skin cleansing experienced mid-single-digit growth in the first two months before slightly declining in March as demand for hygiene products normalized.

In the haircare segment, the growth of wash & care products was driven by outstanding performances in China and India. However, this growth was partially offset by a decline in styling products, as restricted living conditions and reduced usage occasions affected the market. The deodorants sector also experienced a high-single-digit decline, as lower consumer usage due to lockdowns and remote working had an impact.

Unilever provided an update on its new unit, Elida Beauty, which includes various smaller beauty and personal care brands such as Caress, Tigi, Timotei, Impulse, and MonSavon. Collectively, these brands generated revenues of approximately €0.6 billion in 2020. Unilever expressed satisfaction with the progress of Elida Beauty, as the unit benefits from dedicated management focus.

As part of its portfolio evolution, Unilever announced the launch of Dove brand’s Care & Protect innovation across the Americas, Europe, and India. This innovation combines hygiene and long-lasting moisturization in different formats. Additionally, Unilever’s prestige Hourglass color cosmetics brand introduced a 100% vegan red lipstick, formulated with a patent-pending pigment that replaces the industry-standard derived from crushed beetles.

Overall, Unilever achieved a 5.7% increase in company-wide underlying sales, reaching €12.3 billion in the first quarter. Volume contributed 4.7% to this growth, while pricing contributed 1%. E-commerce continued to thrive, with a remarkable underlying sales growth rate of 66%, representing 11% of the company’s total turnover.

CEO Alan Jope expressed confidence in Unilever’s performance, stating that they anticipate achieving underlying sales growth within their multi-year framework of 3-5% for 2021, with the first half of the year expected to be at the higher end of this range. Unilever also expects a slight increase in underlying operating margin for the full year. However, they acknowledge the possibility of a decline in the first half due to several factors, such as additional supply chain costs, negative margin mix, higher commodity and freight costs, and reduced marketing spend compared to the same period last year.

To read more about Unilever’s first-quarter results, click here.
To learn about Unilever’s Prestige Beauty business and its growth, click here.