Bar Soap Vs. Body Wash: An American Shower Story


It’s official. American men are changing – at least the way they clean themselves. The American male demographic is tough to change, but over the past seven years men in the US have been increasingly using body washes instead of bar soap.  

The next big step for the body wash category could hinge on the effectiveness of a campaign featuring New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who is endorsing Dove Men & Care Body Wash. After a dramatic win in a widely watched Super Bowl, Brees appears to be the ideal spokesman at the right time.[more]

Dove, of course, isn’t alone in the body wash game. Early out of the gate in 2004 was Unilever’s Axe, now arguably the biggest in the category. And the category is rife with competition as P&G, Colgate, and Henkel all contend with Unilever and each other for market share.

According to research data from Deutsche Bank, tracked by Information Resources, Inc., soap in a bottle outsold soap in a bar last year – $756.3 million to $754.2 million. This is a first in the annals of American soap history. But there is more to the story, because it defies common logic given the current economic situation: Even though bar soap has a lower price point, it is losing ground to higher-priced body wash – in a recession.

Which raises the question: Why now?