P&G Plans Pampers Weight-Out

03 January 2001

Babies’ bottoms are set to feel the roughness of an impending price war between consumer goods titan Procter & Gamble and its rival Kimberley-Clark.

The forthcoming battle centres around the UK nappy market, currently dominated by P&G’s Pampers brand, but with Kimberley-Clark’s Huggies coming up fast on the rails. In 1999, Pampers sales sagged by 4% while Huggies rose 31%.

In response to the threat from Huggies, P&G is planning a marketing tactic known as ‘weight-out’, where the volume of the product is decreased but prices fall by a proportionally smaller percentage. P&G is believed to be planning a cut in the number of nappies in a jumbo maxi pack of Pampers from 120 to 94 (a 22% drop), while simultaneously cutting prices from £16.49 to £13.48 (only down 18%).

The move, expected in March, is designed to boost profits and see off the Huggies challenge. P&G used a similar tactic in the US in September, when the quantity of diapers per pack fell 13% with an accompanying price cut of only seven per cent. However, the anticipated manoeuvre is unlikely to endear P&G to the Consumers' Association, which has previously condemned the 'weight-out' tactic.

News source: The Times (London)