IRI: PERFORMANCE HBC DOMINATES

CHICAGO - Gillette Mach3 Power and Venus Divine razors, Tylenol Extra Strength Rapid Release Gels and John Frieda Brilliant Brunette hair care products landed at the top of the 2005 New Product Pacesetters Top 10 nonfood products list from Information Resources Inc. here.Performance-based personal care items and items touting efficiency filled the list, illustrating customers' penchant for anything

CHICAGO - Gillette Mach3 Power and Venus Divine razors, Tylenol Extra Strength Rapid Release Gels and John Frieda Brilliant Brunette hair care products landed at the top of the 2005 New Product Pacesetters Top 10 nonfood products list from Information Resources Inc. here.

Performance-based personal care items and items touting efficiency filled the list, illustrating customers' penchant for anything that promises to make health, beauty and everyday tasks easier and more enjoyable, IRI reported.

"Products that give an emotional as well as functional benefit help consumers feel in control of their destiny," said Valerie Skala Walker, vice president of analytic product management, IRI, during a Web presentation of the 2005 nonfood pacesetters late last month.

Combined with the trend for baby boomers to "age in place," or maintain their personal appearance, activities and lifestyle well into their 60s and 70s, this calls for fast-acting, high-performance HBC products, she said.

"Helping consumers' look and feel better, almost in an indulgent manner, is still a foundation for category growth," said Jon Hauptman, vice president of the Willard Bishop consultancy, Barrington, Ill.

Seven of the Top 10 nonfood products were in the HBC category this year, with Gillette Mach3 Power razors coming in at No. 2 with $100 million in sales across food, drug and mass (excluding Wal-Mart Stores). Tylenol Extra Strength rapid-release gels came in third with $68 million.

The other HBC products in the Top 10 were: Gillette Venus Divine Razors with $58 million; John Frida Brilliant Brunette hair care products with $49 million; Mucinex DM cold tablets at $47 million; Neutrogena Advanced Solutions facial care products with $43 million; and Advanced Listerine mouthwash with $41 million.

In first place with $266 million was household product Tide with a Touch of Downy laundry detergent. Other household products in the Top 10: Glad ForeFlex trash bags with $67 million and Downy Simple Pleasures fabric softener with $46 million.

The success of the Tide and Downy products points to a growing Hispanic population, Walker said. "In nonfoods, new scent options meet the specific needs of Hispanic consumers," she said, citing Procter & Gamble research that found 57% of Hispanic consumers describe themselves as "avid scent seekers," compared with 31% for the general market.

"An expanding variety of scents is in response to a demand for more enjoyable cleaning," Walker said. IRI found that in 15 years, 40% of the consumer market will be ethnic.

As for the trash bags, "who hasn't experienced trash bags that have broken on the way out to the sidewalk?" Hauptman said. "These are products that directly answer everyday challenges."