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P&G's Whisper banks on innovative products for growth

By Zhu Wenqian | China Daily | Updated: 2018-02-23 11:19
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Whisper, a Procter & Gamble Co brand, said it is bullish on its growth potential in China, especially for innovative sanitary pads, due to a consumption upgrade trend and the emergence of more young independent women looking for high-end products.

Yang Shanshan, vice-president of female care of P&G China, said that last year, Whisper saw its sales revenue reach more than 2 billion yuan ($315 million) in China, one of the brand's three largest markets alongside the United States and Europe. In recent months, Whisper has maintained double-digit growth rates in China, the company said without disclosing specific figures.

Organic cotton pads, whose topsheets are manufactured in Japan using organic cotton produced in the United States, were developed through R&D in China and launched in August. Currently, the product is only sold in China, but will be exported to other regions soon.

"Whisper plans to increase more research and development efforts in China, to develop products at its research center in Beijing and then export abroad, using advanced big data technology in the country," said Yang.

"For liquid pads, we saw sales revenue expand twofold a year after the product was launched in China. We plan to increase the marketing and sales of liquid and organic cotton pads in smaller Chinese cities and rural areas as we have seen huge demand there," Yang said.

Whisper is also looking to introduce more tampon products to China, as it is confident that they could attract young Chinese consumers.

"We plan to run more pertinent advertisements for tampons in China. For example, we will target consumers who buy swimsuits and bikinis in summer. We will also cooperate with key opinion leaders to promote awareness," Yang said.

Unlike many other consumer goods that are focusing on expanding their e-commerce sales channels, Whisper said it netted more sales revenue from brick-and-mortar stores, as many consumers buy the products unexpectedly when they are required, and offline shopping remains an important medium.

In addition, Whisper has engaged popular Chinese actress Dilraba Dilmurat as its spokesperson, which has helped boost sales growth in China.

"Sports and pop stars with huge numbers of followers on their social media accounts usually have a great impact on the decision-making of their fans. It will help the business growth of companies if they understand consumers and identify the right individual influencers," said He Xiaoqing, partner and head of consumption and retail industry at AT Kearney Greater China.

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