Focus on specialized needs boosts sales
Sales of ear care products are booming, reaching $77.2 million, up 24.4%, for the 52 weeks ended July 14 across U.S. total multi-outlets, according to IRI. What was once considered a commodity category may be becoming more segmented.
(For the full category review, including sales data, click here.)
For example, Cirrus Healthcare is working toward segmenting the ear care market by educating consumers on the different purchase occasions. "What's evolving is the realization that not all ear plugs are the same," said Lanny Lewis, SVP business development for Cirrus Healthcare. There are specially engineered ear plugs to alleviate problems associated with changing cabin pressure on flights, foam ear plugs for noise reduction and silicon ear plugs for protection from water. "What we're trying to do is educate [the consumer] that there are different types of ear plugs and different shapes within the types."
Licensed ear plugs have become a key differentiator among children's sizes, giving mom an assist by making the products more approachable to children.
The As Seen on TV ear care accessory WaxVac, an ear wax remover, also has been raking in the sales with more than $10.4 million in sales its first year in the mass market.
Within eye care, dry eye solutions have been trending up, with both Bausch + Lomb and Prestige Brands' Clear Eyes making new introductions into the space. And sales of Zeiss eye and lens care accessories have really taken off. Dollar sales for the premium-positioned line totaled $19.6 million for the 52 weeks ended July 14, up 139.7%.
Another area trending up in lens care is hydrogen peroxide-based systems. As many as 87% of optometrists have been advocating these products lately, according to a recent survey conducted by Contact Lens Spectrum.