Unilever beats sales estimates off back of strategic investments, says GlobalData

Following Unilever’s announcement that it has reported H1 2021 underlying sales growth of 5.4%, with 4.0% volume and 1.3% price;

Carmen Bryan, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers her view:

“Despite difficult market conditions this year, Unilever has pulled through with consistent growth once again. The company’s beauty and personal care and food and refreshment brands are reaping the benefits of its continued investments and brand development, as well as now ingrained consumer behaviors since the onset of the pandemic.

“Beauty and personal care in particular is set to pick up quickly, as people want to look their best, whether it’s for a night on the town or heading back to the office. We’re going to see a renaissance in make-up and cosmetics; however, that’s not to say that interest in skincare will die down.

“According to GlobalData’s 2021 Q2 consumer survey, a third of global consumers stated that they like to experiment with new makeup and skincare products often, or sometimes when they want to try something new, while a quarter admitted that their spend on makeup and skincare was high. It’s interesting to see Unilever’s focus on digital-first brands, such as Paula’s Choice, developing its presence in the high-growth premium skin-care segment and leveraging the explosive online beauty trends.

“However, rising commodity prices, supply chain disruptions, and the deceleration of e-commerce as shop doors open again will paint a challenging scene for Unilever in the coming months. Its e-commerce operations, for instance, will likely take a backseat as consumers return to normal shopping habits.

“Unilever has truly succeeded in recognising which 2020 emerging trends had staying power and playing to those strengths. If the company can continue to do this, it may see smooth sailing through the rest of the 2021 storm.”

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