In April 2017, Dove launched Baby Dove, the brand’s first new category in the US since the introduction of Dove Men+Care in 2010. The Baby Dove product range features two separate lines, Sensitive Moisture and Rich Moisture, with each line including hand and face wipes, body lotion and body wash, while the Rich Moisture line also includes bar soap and shampoo.

A market primed for gentle brands

Dove’s timing appears strategic: Johnson & Johnson, the current baby personal care market leader, struggled to grow sales from 2015 to 2016 in light of negative press surrounding the use of the brand’s baby powders, paving the way for other brands to profit. We know that parents value safety and gentleness when shopping for baby personal care products, a trend which has benefited natural brands like Burt’s Bees and The Honest Company.

While Dove doesn’t necessarily employ natural-positioning, Mintel’s Shampoo, Conditioner and Hairstyling Products US 2017 report finds that consumers often perceive Dove as being natural. Natural claims often lack clarity in beauty and personal care categories, and consumers are likely assuming that since Dove is touted as being gentle and moisturizing, it must also be natural, giving the brand a leg up in the baby personal care segment.

Brand extensions are a prominent baby personal care theme

Mintel Trend “Extend My Brand” explores the theme of established brands leveraging consumer trust to extend into new categories. Baby Dove is jumping on the bandwagon of adult personal care brands that have launched lines in the baby personal care space. CeraVe Baby, Aveeno Baby, Dial Baby and SheaMoisture Baby all posted gains in 2015, with each brand benefitting from both a strong presence and gentle or therapeutic positioning in the adult personal care market.


sheamoisture aveeno cerave dial

Baby Dove advertising is in-line with Dove’s overall positioning

The Baby Dove launch was accompanied by an ad featuring a variety of moms who lead dissimilar lifestyles and who choose to parent their children in different ways, ultimately empowering moms with the message that there isn’t just one way to be a “good mom.” Additionally, the Baby Dove page on the Dove website features the tagline, “There are no perfect moms. Only real ones.”

Baby Dove’s positioning is in-line with Dove’s overall brand positioning, which has long empowered women to feel confident in their physical appearance through the Real Beauty campaign, which premiered in 2004. More recently, themes of empowerment have been especially relevant for moms, as the mom-shaming trend has resulted in a backlash of moms who embrace, and even flaunt, their parenting flaws, a social trend discussed in Mintel’s Marketing to Moms US 2016 report.

What we think

The baby personal care segment struggled to grow in 2016 as sales of baby powders, oils, shampoo and lotion took a dip. Many baby personal care products have overlapping benefits, causing consumers to use staples like baby soaps and ointments, particularly dual-purpose shampoo/wash combo items, instead of using the full gamut of products. However, parents are drawn to branded offerings which provide them with a sense of reassurance, and adults who choose Dove products for themselves will likely consider purchasing the Baby Dove line for their child.

Margie Nanninga is a Beauty Analyst at Mintel and a member of the US Reports team. Her diverse background, which includes qualitative research and data analysis, allows her to spot patterns and trends in the market and create actionable recommendations across beauty, home and personal care topics.

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