Oral-B makes its debut in China
American oral hygiene brand Oral-B announced on Jan 8 in Shanghai that it had launched its first toothpaste in China.
The new product, one of the most expensive toothpastes sold in Chinese mainland, retails at 159 yuan ($25). It is researched, developed and manufactured in the United States.
While it will be sold globally later this year, executives from the oral care division of Oral B’s parent company Procter & Gamble (P&G) said that the new product is specially tailored for Chinese consumers, who have been found to be neglecting their oral health.
“Chinese consumers have been buying the most number of premium luxury, skincare and haircare products, but when it comes to oral care, there appears to be a huge gap when compared with consumers in Western countries,” said Ouyang Qingqiu, president of P&G Great China’s oral care division.
“It seems that the only reason for a Chinese to visit a dentist is when they have a toothache, which is often too late,” he added.
Statistics from China’s third nationwide oral health and plaque research showed that 77 percent of Chinese adults have suffered from bleeding gums, while only 14.2 percent of those polled have not encountered any problems.
Ouyang estimated that an average Chinese person’s annual budget for oral health is about three to four times lower than that of their American counterparts. Moreover, the oral care kit used in most households in China is much more rudimentary, comprising just a normal toothbrush and toothpaste.
But this situation is set to change, as Ouyang and his team described the oral care industry as “a sunrise industry not only in China, but also around the world”.
He noted that electric toothbrushes have enjoyed the fastest growth rate among all segments of P&G China in 2015, although its penetration rate is still quite low. Ouyang estimated that only two out of every 100 households in China have owned or used electric toothbrushes. In first-tiered cities like Beijing and Shanghai, the proportion is around 18 percent, while in Europe, it’s above 36 percent.
With regard to the new toothpaste, the company differentiates it from its key brand, Crest, as a more premium product that is targeted at office workers, professionals and society’s elites who are indifferent to the price and want an “equally premium toothpaste to complement their several-hundred-yuan electric toothbrush”.
The launch of this toothpaste is being dubbed as a breakthrough in the oral care industry as the products, offered as a pack with two separate pastes, urges users to take one more step of gum care after brushing by applying a second layer of paste to prevent enamel erosion.
According to research firm Euromonitor, P&G took the lead in China’s fragmented oral care industry with a value share of 17 percent in 2014. The industry is expected to register a steady compound annual growth rate of 6 percent from 2015 to 2019, driven mainly by upgrades to more premium toothpaste and more frequent toothbrush replacements.
Chinese consumers have been buying the most number of premium luxury, skincare and haircare products, but when it comes to oral care, there appears to be a huge gap when compared with consumers in Western countries.”
president of P&G Great China’s oral care division