A new online retailer, Public Goods, launched in September 2017 selling a variety of premium personal care products at cost, such as biodegradable toothbrushes, tree-free toilet paper and natural shampoo. The company charges an annual membership fee of $59, and in return customers can purchase goods the company claims are of higher quality at an average of 50-60% less than Walmart and Amazon. Public Goods touts its products as obsessively formulated, made with safe and healthy ingredients, and aesthetically pleasing through minimal packaging design.

Just 10% of US personal care consumers agree higher-priced personal care products work better than less expensive ones.

A similar online retailer, Brandless, which launched in July of this year, sells generic food and personal care products that are often natural or organic for a flat price of $3 per item. The launch of a second online retailer that sells premium, low-cost consumer goods with minimal branding is catering to shoppers who are more focused on quality and savings rather than brand name recognition. In fact, only one in five adults who buy personal care products agree branded products are better quality than store brand ones, while just 10% agree higher-priced personal care products work better than less expensive ones, according to Mintel’s US report on personal care consumers.

What we think

With relatively few consumers agreeing that higher-priced, branded products mean better quality and efficacy, the low cost items at Public Goods should be fairly well-received. What’s more, the e-commerce-only platform of Public Goods underscores Mintel Trend ‘Straight to You,’ which highlights how consumers are expecting products and services to be brought directly to them, wherever they are.

Jana Vyleta is a Research Analyst focusing on the Health and Personal Care categories. She has a background in corporate retail merchandising, which allows her to deliver action-oriented insights from both the shopper and seller perspectives.

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