Consumer Discretionary

Feminine Hygiene In East Africa

<p style="text-align: justify;">The feminine hygiene category is one of the key consumer categories outside food. This category touches almost every household amongst East Africans, and indeed the world.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Consumers enter this category at the age of 13 and remain locked in it for at least 30 - 40 years. Interestingly, they may not fully exit and remain locked for life with daily use products like panty liners.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Products in this category take various forms, or sub-categories - from sanitary pads, tampons, panty liners, reusable fabric, toilet tissue paper and cotton wool. Each of these forms is further split into the specific preferences of the users depending on the menstrual flow, stage in menstruation cycle, level of discreetness, perception of desired protection etc.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Amongst the African communities and many other societies across the world, menstruation is a highly discrete subject, and in most cases is treated as a taboo subject. In the past, menstruating women were segregated, and would not even appear in front of men while on their period. Rather than build the confidence and pride of womanhood, being on her periods greatly stripped a woman of her dignity. These are some of the reasons why many a research have been commissioned to ensure that a womans confidence is restored with or without her periods.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">The category has a relatively low penetration in Africa, partly due to poverty, illiteracy as well as being a taboo subject. Of these, poverty is the key penetration barrier. While in rural communities most menstruating women use reusable fabric, cut and redesigned from old fabrics, their counterparts in urban setups use a form of branded product, though not necessarily custom-made sanitary protection. There are several players in the formal feminine sanitary hygiene category - both local and global brands. Across East Africa, always from Procter &amp; Gamble commands a huge market share especially in urban areas. The key competitors offer price competitiveness and affordability.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">The biggest opportunity in this category lies in provision of a product range that offers affordability and quality to consumers. The low-priced segment is highly fragmented, with numerous players offering undifferentiated, though affordable products. The opportunity is to have a fully supported brand that will resonate with the needs of the consumer.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">For now, this opportunity is as big as the brand owner is willing to invest.</p>
KR Expert - Dominic Mburu

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