Mouthwash: Tearing Down Bacteria, Building Up Demand

Mouthwash has long been a relatively simple product and is a staple for many households. More recently, mouthwash companies have been launching new varieties to cater to specific consumer needs such as germ-killing and teeth-whitening. Over the past 12 months, Amazon sellers of mouthwash have brought in a collective $64.5M in revenue. This represents a YoY growth rate of 47.5% from its $43.7M in revenue the year prior.

What is driving the surge in sales of mouthwash on Amazon? Along with the increasing awareness among consumers for dental hygiene, it had a steady MoM growth rate of about 1.9% until December 2019. A more significant jump in revenue first appeared in January 2020 with a MoM growth rate of 23.4%. This was followed by a second jump in April with a 20.3% rise, and consecutively a third jump of 24.7% in May without a decline in between. The revenue has been growing swiftly thus far. Since this pattern of mouthwash sales coincides with the timeline of the COVID-19 outbreak, it indicates that the surge can be attributed to how the pandemic has impacted consumer behavior. 

First, lab studies have demonstrated that gargling may help prevent respiratory infections caused by coronavirus. Second, other possible motivations include that people become more self-conscious of their breath because they are wearing masks more regularly. Third, more consumers have switched from in-store to online for toiletries shopping amid the ongoing pandemic. Lastly, consumers tend to purchase consumables like mouthwash products repetitively. As the future of the pandemic remains uncertain, mouthwash sellers on Amazon are likely to see prolonged effects in the continual growth of sales revenue.

The growth in sales over the past year was not distributed evenly across mouthwash sellers on Amazon. Over the past year, the five brands with top market shares posted average QoQ increases ranging from 7.98% to 19.98%, while some smaller brands achieved much higher average QoQ increases of beyond 200%. For example, Kanka showed an average QoQ rate of 207.52%. Dr. Ginger’s average QoQ increase was around 65.43%. However, the quarterly revenue growth seen in bigger brands was more stable. It indicates that there still exists room in the market for smaller brands to capture and expand capacity, but it also shows that sustainability in growth is critical in the long run.

Natural or not, demand remains

Mouthwash products can be categorized by whether their ingredients are natural or not. Though intuitively natural products might be the better choice, speculations emerge that “natural” might be a meaningless marketing term, at least for mouthwash. ClearCut’s sales data agrees with this finding. From ClearCut’s database, 55.4% of the brands are only selling non-natural mouthwash products. 40% are selling mouthwash made with solely natural ingredients, and 4 out of the total 83 brands sell both. Listerine is the only leading brand that carries both, covering 20.08% of the market. TheraBreath with 18.22% of market share only provides natural mouthwash. Crest, ACT, and Colgate, which occupy the third to fifth market shares sell only the non-natural. In fact, non-natural mouthwash products are gradually taking up a bigger proportion. 64.03% of units sold were non-natural, generating 56.54% of the total revenue in August 2019. In August 2020, on the other hand, 73.96% of units sold were non-natural, representing 62.69% of the total revenue. This result can be associated with product availability to a certain extent. However, it also implies that consumers do not necessarily base their purchasing decision on whether the mouthwash is natural or not.

In closing, as the current pandemic situation persists, Amazon sellers of Mouthwash are likely to experience continued momentum in sales – though the magnitude of that increase will vary greatly. If you’d like to learn more about these category insights, contact us today for a walkthrough of our analytics.