Category Captain: Soaps and Detergent: Henkel NA

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Category Captain: Soaps and Detergent: Henkel NA


Henkel has demonstrated its leadership in the laundry category with the launch of Purex Crystals -- the first crystal-form laundry enhancer in the United States. Realizing an unmet need in the segment, as evidenced by three straight years of category decline, Henkel worked with its retail partners to turn this challenge into an opportunity.

Henkel’s research showed that a natural, crystal-based, convenient laundry freshener offered a unique combination of benefits that appealed to consumers and retailers alike. Rather than create another line extension, Henkel introduced Purex Crystals, a 92 percent natural product that’s not oil-based like most fabric softeners. Its crystal form, which Henkel highlighted through packaging, point-of-purchase displays and trade promotions, has built overall category sales by disrupting “auto-pilot” shopping trips down a traditionally sleepy aisle.

Purex Crystals is tracking to do more than $80 million at retail in year one, far exceeding Henkel’s initial projection of $57 million. The product is driving new users and consumption into the category.

According to Henkel, all major retailers, including mass, grocery and drug channels, are supporting the product in a big way. The company’s retail partners have given the product great distribution and excellent display. Since the January launch, Henkel has tripled its market share in the in-wash segment, has doubled its production due to consumer demand, and has moved the Purex franchise from seventh to fourth in the category.

Purex Crystals has opened many new customers and channels where Purex laundry enhancers weren’t taken already, such as Walgreens, CVS, Food Lion and Stop & Shop.