Source: CHEAA-run China Appliance magazine

Looking back at the development of personal care appliance market in the past 2020, electric toothbrush category stood out with large consumer demands and fast market expansion, which mainly came from the rising healthcare awareness of consumers as well as the cutting average price of the product due to the development of the manufacturing chain and local production.

Electric toothbrush category saw retail sales value of 7.412 billion Yuan and retail sales volume of 40.8079 million units in the past 2020, according to monitored online data from All View Cloud. The consulting company predicts that combined online and offline retail sales value of the product is expected to reach 9.4 billion Yuan in 2021. Third-party statistics on Tmall show that, sales value of electric toothbrushes sold on Tmall was nearly 1.8 billion Yuan in 2017, 3.8 billion Yuan in 2018 and 5.7 billion Yuan in 2019. The number is expected to reach 21 billion Yuan in 2021 based on the estimation of market penetration of 10%. Plus, sales of electric toothbrushes will stimulate sales of oral care products including electric toothbrush head, toothpaste, flosser, mouth wash, etc.

The fast growth of electric toothbrush market is exciting for manufacturers. I learned from multiple sources that the market is flourishing.

Of international brands, Philips, the market leader by penetration for years, retained its position in 2020, with its high-end models charged at 3000RMB-4000RMB sold in great numbers amid the general downward trend of average price. In 2020, Panasonic saw sales of its electric toothbrushes experience a double-digit growth. Bullish on the prospects of the category, Panasonic has been increasing its production capacity through updating manufacturing automation and expanding production lines to meet growing market demands.

Domestic brands posted dazzling performance in recent years with Soocas and Usmile showing strong growing momentum. As of now, both brands have started the process of going public. Guangdong Xinbao Electrical Appliance Co., Ltd. manufactured and sold 6 million units of electric toothbrushes in 2020 and will expand its production capacity to 12 million units in 2021. It is learned that the company also provide OEM and ODM services. Shenzhen Besman Electronic Technology Co., Ltd., an OEM, ODM OTS service provider that offers tailored service, also cooperates with a number of leading brands. Its production and sales data could well show the growth of the industry. In 2020, the company’s maglev sonic electric toothbrushes posted shipping of 4 million units which was almost four times that of 2019.

Zhu Jun, Vice President of China Household Electrical Appliances Association, says that, the growth of the industry needs joint efforts. CHEAA, as an industry association, will play its role in guiding consumption along with manufacturers and advancing enterprises to improve product quality and technologies. At the same time, mainstream brands should adhere to high-quality development and suppliers should improve its specialized supplying services to jointly shorten the unregulated development period of the category and drive it into a healthy development path.

With low barriers to entry, the market is chaotic. I searched the keyword electric toothbrush on and found more than 500 brands on the platform. Monitored statistics from All View Cloud showed there were more than 1068 brands on the market in 2020. The price ranges from a few bucks to thousands Yuan, which shows the complexity of the development of the category. In 2021, the industry must reshuffle for the healthy development of the industry. It’s good to see that enterprises who want to survive and thrive in the shakeup are actively building brands to take root for long-term development.

Electric toothbrush brands can be loosely divided into five groups: international brands who make a foray into the sector ahead of others such as Philips, Oral-B, Braun and Panasonic, traditional toothbrush and tooth paste manufacturers such as Colgate, Saky and Darlie, home appliance manufacturers such as Xinbao, Roaman, Haier, Midea and Meling, internet brands such as Xiaomi and Huawei, and newly established brands aiming at oral care market such as Usmile, Dr. Bei, Soocas and Salove. Leveraging their own specialties, these brands are actively deploying their strategies.

International brands, with higher average price of products, boast technical advantages, innovation, and strict product quality control. Traditional toothbrush and toothpaste manufacturers, with better understanding of oral care, prefer to combine electric toothbrushes with its existing product lines and sell them as a package. Home appliance manufacturers have an established supply chain, which means their products are more cost-effective and diversified. Internet enterprises leverage their internet operation experience to cut down the price and roll out mind blowing products through unbelievable cross-boundary cooperation. Newly established enterprises weigh in and win recognition fast by rolling out trendy products thanks to their advantages in distribution channel operation, appealing design and better understanding of consumer philosophy.

There still exists a lot of issues to be addressed for electric toothbrush industry though the product has win broad recognition of consumers. As a necessity of daily life, consumer experience optimization is a priority for electric toothbrush manufacturers. In terms of technical upgrading, better cleaning performance, low noise, easy-to-use operation, safety and reliability, and intelligence are the trajectory the industry is on. In terms of product structure, the core components of electric toothbrushes are battery, motor and toothbrush head. Motor, toothbrush head and product material are key technical upgrading directions of enterprises.

Despite the complexity of the market, I learned from my interviews that enterprises aiming at long-term development have the common understanding of the importance of technical innovation and product quality, which are believed to be the qualities that will lead an enterprise to survive and thrive in fierce market competition.