Electric Toothbrushes Thrive in Developed Markets

Electric toothbrush posted a global volume CAGR of 4% from 2009-2014. Western Europe accounted for 79% of global absolute volume growth, led by France, Germany and Italy. There are a few reasons why developed markets are driving growth: Affordability among high disposable incomes consumers, preference for premium dental care, and the concerted efforts of manufacturers in launching products utilising advanced technology. Having said that, consumers in emerging markets with rising disposable incomes – notably China, Mexico and Russia – are also expected to drive growth of electric toothbrushes over the next five years.

Electric toothbrushes – higher unit prices and higher maintenance expenses

According to Euromonitor International’s data on consumer appliances, the global unit price of toothbrush is around US$55 per unit in 2014, compared to just US$1-2 for manual. The price of electric toothbrush replacement heads is also high (US$10). Since dentists typically advise patients to change toothbrushes every three months for better cleaning, consumers need to spend at least US$40 per year to maintain the usage of electric toothbrushes. In contrast, consumers who use manual toothbrush will spend at most US$4-8 per year.

Sales of electric toothbrushes in emerging markets such as Vietnam, Indonesia, India and Brazil, remain insignificant, with sales of more affordable manual toothbrushes predictably higher.

Toothbrushes by Type: Developed and Emerging Markets in 2014

Electric-Toothbrushes

Source: Euromonitor International

Preference for premium dental care for better results

In addition to higher incomes, consumers in developed markets increasing view premium priced products as offering better quality and more beneficial to dental health. Consumers in the UK, for example, are gradually shifting towards the idea that more effective tools are needed to maintain strong and healthy teeth, partially influenced by dentists’ recommendation. Similarly, consumers in Germany are increasingly prioritising dental health, as they want to feel healthier and fitter, fuelling growth of electric toothbrushes, which are expected to rise by 1.4 million units over the next five years.

In sharp contrast, consumers in emerging markets tend to prefer using manual toothbrushes and feel that buying expensive electric toothbrushes is not worth it. They also rely more on dental cleaning and whitening via dentists, since these dental expenses are more affordable.

New technology from manufacturers attracts more consumers in developed markets

Growth of electric toothbrushes is also being driven by sustained innovation and product updates.   Procter & Gamble launched the Oral-B SmartSeries electric toothbrush in 2014, marking entry into an era of information-generating devices. Compatible with iOS and Android devices, the electric toothbrush comes with Bluetooth connectivity.  Similarly, Koninklijke Philips launched a few models in 2013, including Philips DiamondClean, FlexCare and HealthyWhite, emphasising powerful brushes that can effectively clean hard-to-reach areas.  Additionally, during the Consumer Electric Show 2015 (CES), Kolibree unveiled “smart” toothbrush with 3D motion sensor, informing users which areas are missed from brushing.  These developments have stimulated consumer interest in dental health and the desire for improved results.

Toothbrushes

Source: http://www.oralb.com, http://philips.com.sg,  http://www.kolibree.com/en/product/

Developed markets to fuel growth over the next five years

It is expected that developed markets led by Italy, Germany and the UK will continue driving growth of electric toothbrushes from 2014-2019. Western Europe will lead growth, accounting for 77% of total value. Consumers in developed markets are expected to continue taking good care of their dental health and hygiene, and manufacturers will develop new products that address consumer dental requirements in terms of cleaning and whitening.