By  on February 25, 2005

NEW YORK — Nivea is acting on its penchant for sensitive guys: The Beiersdorf-owned brand will double the number of items designed for sensitive skin within its Nivea for Men collection.

In May, Nivea for Men Sensitive Face Wash and Sensitive Lotion will join two existing Nivea for Men Sensitive products — Shaving Gel and After Shave Balm — in the brand’s 30,000 doors of mass market distribution.

It’s no surprise Nivea chose sensitive skin as an area in which to embark on its latest Nivea for Men expansion — given consumer response to the sensitive skin items that bowed when the men’s line originally was introduced in the U.S. in 2001. While at the time seven Nivea for Men items featured products for normal and sensitive skin, it was the latter that took off in terms of sales performance, according to Catherine Lair, director of marketing for Beiersdorf Inc.

“Seventy percent of men say they have sensitive skin,” she noted, adding that expectations are high for the Sensitive Face Wash and Sensitive Lotion introductions. “We are definitely expecting an increase in sales to men with sensitive skin.

“[Men] don’t have anything like this in Nivea or in the mass market,” she continued, speculating that men either use their girlfriends’ products or shop at department stores. “We think it will be incremental [growth] for the category.”

Sensitive Face Wash and Sensitive Lotion could generate about $10 million in first-year retail sales, according to industry sources. Nivea for Men as a whole generated $35 million at retail last year, excluding Wal-Mart, which could account for between 30 and 40 percent of sales, according to estimates.

Citing ACNielsen data, Lair said that the combined men’s shaving gel, aftershave balm, face care, moisturizer and cleanser category is a $330 million business at mass, excluding Wal-Mart. The $40 million face care category alone, she noted, is growing at a 20 percent clip.

The two newest Nivea for Men treatment formulations are free of fragrance, alcohol, dye and soap. While Sensitive Face Wash contains chamomile to soothe and vitamin E, an antioxidant, Sensitive Lotion contains these ingredients plus licorice extract for a soothing effect and SPF 4 to protect against UV exposure. Each product has been priced at $5.99.Nivea for Men will contain 14 stockkeeping units when Sensitive Face Wash and Sensitive Lotion join the collection. In addition to the four-year-old normal and sensitive skin products, items for oily skin, as well as products that are designed to be cooling, have since been launched.

“Nivea is the only company in the mass market that has products for [men’s] different skin types,” claimed Lair.

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