Unilever strategy lifts brands

Unilever has adopted a product differentiation strategy to dominate the detergents market despite none of its brands being the market leader.

According to a recent survey on consumer shopping behaviour by Consumer Insight, Reja, Unilever combined the strength of its two washing detergents — Omo and Sunlight — to overcome rivalry from Procter and Gamble’s Ariel.

Although Ariel had 25 per cent of the market share the two Unilever products had a share of 35 per cent, with Omo edging Sunlight from the second position with 18 per cent.

“Omo and Sunlight have a combined share that more than beats what number one controls. This proves that a multiple brand strategy within one category is actually workable,” said the consumer survey report.

Ariel re-entered the market in 2009. “Ariel, the leading brand has successfully captured a loyal following and is still tops,” state the shoppers’ report, adding that Ariel’s Enzymax formula and ‘one wash’ campaign had connected with consumers.


Toss, a detergent manufactured by Kapa Oil tied in fourth position with Ushindi with a market share of six per cent each with the latter having a broad appeal among the middle and upper classes of consumers.

“That simple fact alone makes it the brand to watch in this segment,” reads the report.

Other brands with visible shares were Bidco Oil Refineries’ Gental and Power Boy detergents with five per cent and three per cent respectively and Persil at four per cent.

If the multiple brand strategy was also applied to Bidco, then the Thika-based company would be in fourth place above Toss and Ushindi, at eight per cent.