Rising inflation has led lower-income Brazilians to make choices not only when buying food, but also when using basic personal hygiene products, such as soap and shampoo. In the second quarter of this year, the number of showers without using soap increased by 9% among those who take the second daily shower, compared to the same quarter of 2018.
The data were revealed by a national study on hygiene and consumption habits carried out by the consultancy Kantar and obtained exclusively by ‘Estadão’. Through an application, the consultancy monitors the behavior of 4,000 people daily. The hygiene habits of this group represent a universe of 115 million Brazilians, just over half of the country’s population. Today, almost 70% of the population takes two baths daily.
“It’s not that Brazilians are abandoning soap, but one in five baths is only with water, and these occasions are done by about 31% of the population”, says Jenifer F. Novaes, senior executive at the consultancy and responsible for the research. .
The follow-up of this item, which started in the second quarter of 2018, shows that, since 2019, the occasions for bathing without soap have grown. The peak was reached in the second quarter of 2021, with an advance of 28% compared to the same period in 2018. “The situation had been getting more complicated before the pandemic, it got worse at the height of the pandemic and now it has run out of steam. But it still remains at a high level compared to 2018?, highlights Jenifer.
From the last quarter of last year to the second quarter of this year, the trajectory of the amount of baths without the use of soap is ascending and increased by 3.9%, according to research.
The growth in bathing with only water only occurred among Brazilians from classes D and E, a segment in which the average individual income is R$ 791.63, equivalent to 65% of the minimum wage. The Southeast region was the main driver of this growth, where 54% of the individuals with this routine are located. Of these, more than half (53%) are women, most of whom are full-time working mothers and are responsible for providing for the household.
“The increase in inflation and the worsening of the economic scenario have led consumers to have to make choices, whether by cutting products or rationalizing their use so that they last longer”, says Rafael Couto, director of advanced solutions at the consultancy.
This is the case of Ulisses dos Santos, 38, a child educator. “Personal hygiene products have gone up too much, especially razors, deodorant and soap. Don’t even talk to me,” he notes.
Santos did not cut the soap, but is rationalizing its use in the two daily baths. The way found to spend less on the product was to change the way you shower. Today, first he gets wet, then he turns off the shower faucet, soaps his body. Only after these steps does he go back under the shower. “That way I save a lot: 50% on soap and I also spend less water and energy,” he says.
The prices of the trio – soap, water and electricity – also put pressure on the budget of makeup artist Nayalla Mendes de Carvalho, 35 years old. But she has maintained the routine of two baths a day and both with soap. Nayalla emphasizes that the fastest shower today is due to the expense of electricity and water. Although she has noticed the rise in the price of soap, she says that “you are paying what you have to pay”. “I’m saving on shampoo”, says the makeup artist.
In recent months, Nayalla has seen a 24% rise in the price of the shampoo she usually uses. In this case, it is risky to switch brands. Therefore, the way out to save was to reduce the frequency of use of the product. “I washed my hair four times a week and now it’s two. The rest we disguise and wear our hair up.”
Bernardo Remus, 29, art director, is another who chose to reduce the frequency of use and the amount used each time of the hair styling cream. In the last few months, curly hair cream has gone up 33%. “Now the price of the bottle is approaching R$40?, he notes.
To circumvent the high prices, Remus, Nayalla and many consumers have opted for the purchase of economical packages of hair products. This movement is clear in the results of the study. In the second quarter of this year, the consumption of hair products in packages from 400 milliliters (ml) to 599 ml grew 6.8% in units compared to the first quarter of 2022.
Bottles with more than 600 ml registered an increase of 4.1%, on the same basis of comparison. Together, these larger packages accounted for 31% of the market, with an advance of 2 percentage points between the two periods. On the other hand, the consumption of packages with up to 399 ml was stable in the second quarter of this year compared to the first.
Despite food being the focus of inflationary pressures, the prices of personal hygiene products register increases equivalent to those of food. In the 12 months through August, the price of soap rose 27.97%, while soybean oil rose 27.52%, according to data from the Broad Consumer Price Index (IPCA)-15, the preview of the official inflation Country.
This year, until August, the adjustment for soap (20.95%) exceeded that for soybean oil (19.76%), according to the IPCA-15. In the same period, the inflation of personal hygiene products (11.85%) and food at home (12.79%) were practically equivalent and more than double the general IPCA-15 (5.02%).
The Brazilian Association of Personal Hygiene, Perfumery and Cosmetics Industry (Abihpec) says, through a note, that it ended last year with sectorial inflation of 3.1%, 7 percentage points below the IPCA. According to the note, “in this period (2021), there was no room to pass on price, as the consumer continued with his growing and committed monthly expense. The current situation (2022) is different, there is a certain ‘income breather’ with deflation in some items”.
In 12 months until July, the entity points out that the IPCA accumulated a high of 10.1%, while personal care inflation was 8.5%. “This result of the sector’s inflation in the last 12 months was strongly impacted by the soap inflation (27.2%); skin care products (16.9%), hair care products (12.4%) and oral hygiene products (11.8%). Last year, manufacturers made a lot of effort not to pass on price increases. Such movement has a limit, and 2022 has been the year to gradually operationalize the recomposition of margins in favor of the financial sustainability of the business”, says the note.
According to the entity, the reasons for the increases in these products are related to the high prices of inputs, especially imported ones, which have gone through times of scarcity in the market. As an example, Abihpec cites animal tallow, which had a reduced supply for the production of hygiene and beauty items due to greater interest in supplying the biodiesel market.
Source: CNN Brasil