Even if people spend only half as much time at home in the coming years as they had throughout the majority of 2020, Procter & Gamble would still be in a better position than it was prior to the pandemic.
In October, the maker of household staples from laundry detergent to toilet paper reported $19.3 billion in quarterly net sales—a 9% increase compared to the same time last year, with each of its business segments seeing gains. Before Covid-19, growth had been in the mid-single digits.
“The biggest trend that we have seen is that there’s an elevated and heightened interest in cleaning, health and hygiene because people are spending more time at home,” said Marc Pritchard, P&G’s chief brand officer.
No one doubts that the vaccine will get people out and about again. At the same time, multiple data sets suggest trends such as high unemployment, investments in household renovation and people’s preference to work remotely (at least some of the time) will continue to keep many of us home for a good while.
Once visitors create an avatar, they can take an elevator ride that highlights the company’s history of innovation, then roam around a virtual space learning about its newest technologies, such as a new Febreze air freshener with a microchip that controls how much scent is released into the room to achieve an optimum smell, and Microban 24, a line of antibacterial cleaning products released just before the pandemic.
Sustainability is a big theme. Still in the early stages of development is P&G’s EC30, a small, multipurpose cleaning swatch that turns into a lather when mixed with water, thus eliminating bulky product packaging and reducing C02 emissions from shipping. A Dawn dish spray allows people to clean a few dishes without having to fill the sink with water. P&G is also part of the 50L Home Coalition (the L stands for Liter), an initiative that’s rethinking how water is used in the home with the goal of reducing it.
“The consumption of water is very top of mind,” Pritchard said. “There is a day where there’s a concern that there will not be enough fresh, clean water.”
In July, the company announced plans to lower its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% and become carbon neutral by 2030.
P&G’s digital CES experience, known as the LifeLab, also allows entrepreneurs to share their ideas with experts and jobseekers to chat with representatives about working with the CPG manufacturer.
This marks P&G’s third year presenting at CES, the annual consumer technology conference typically held in Las Vegas in January. Pritchard said the company had been experimenting with virtual experiences prior to the public health crisis, and decided to make the leap entirely to an online experience for CES 2021.
“It’s an innovation in how we showcase our innovations,” Pritchard said.
Back in April, near the initial outbreak of Covid-19, P&G COO and CFO Jon Moeller told analysts during an earnings call that people’s focus on health, hygiene and cleaning moving forward will likely be “forever altered.”
Expecting to maintain positive momentum, the Cincinnati-based company anticipates organic revenue to rise between 4% and 5% during its 2021 fiscal year, up from a prior estimate of 2% to 4%.