Why Jamaicans may prefer Body Washes and Liquid Hand soaps over Bar Soap


“In order to turn sluggish sales around, new bar soap product launches could incorporate a wider variety of claims, especially for more luxury and premium bar soap offerings”

Beauty analyst at Mintel, Margie Nanninga, on their survey on the trend towards in-shower moisturizers i.e. body washes or Liquid soaps

While GraceKennedy is trying to boost the sales of washing powder (Deer, 2016, August 26) and Bar soap, millennials may have a different take on the matter; they prefer body washes or Liquid soaps.


Turns out they mostly use in-shower moisturizers i.e. body washes or Liquid soaps (Farber, 2016, August 25) according to research firm Mintel. Here’s what research firm Mintel found based on soap, bath, and shower sales between 2014 and 2015:

  • 30% of soap, bath, and shower sales are Bar Soaps
  • 47% of soap, bath, and shower sales are Liquid Soaps

In 2015, liquid body soaps in the USA was a US$2.7 billion industry. Meanwhile traditional Bar Soap Sales are on the decline:

  • 2.7% growth in soap, bath, and shower sales
  • 2.2% decline in Bar soap usage

Usage of Bar soap in American households fell between 2010 and 2015:

  • 5 percentage points from 89% to 84%
  • 64% of all American consumers use bar soap
  • 68% of men use traditional bar soap
  • 60% of women use traditional bar soap

So why is this so?

Americans Millennials like Liquid soaps – Body Washes and liquid hand wash Soaps seen as modern and more hygienic

Americans like convenience.

They’re spending on in-shower moisturizers aka body washes and Liquid soaps for washing their hands as it cheaper than buying Bar soap. 66% of Americans prefer taking a shower than a long bath (Gray, 2016, August 26), and body washes makes bathing a lot faster.

Many are also buying cheaper bar soaps and spending the rest on in-shower moisturizers, as the body washes and Liquid soaps lasts longer and are more convenient. Also, Americans perceive bar soap as being unhygienic and something used by old people.

According to research firm Mintel’s survey:

  • 5% think traditional bar soap is less convenient than liquid soap.
  • 48% believing that bar soaps are covered in germs after use
  • 60% of consumers aged 18-24 strongly dislike the bar soap’s germ factor
  • 31% of consumers who are 65 and older strongly dislike the bar soap’s germ factor

So is this perception by millennials supported by science? 

Soaps are healthier for your skin – US and UK may be dumping Soaps on Jamaica

This is a rather misguided view by Millennials; bar soaps are actually germ free (PRNewswire, 2016, September 14), as bacteria cannot live on soap bars due to their germ-killing chemicals. So the perception that you can pass on germs by sharing soap is incorrect, based on research conducted by Cambridge University.

Bar soaps are also better for your skin, as they don’t contain sulphates or paraben, like most Body Washes and liquid hand wash Soaps. Soaps are also cheaper to make and can be made at home, requiring less packaging and are more compact, often lasting longer, based on my personal experience.

Bar Of Glycerin Soap On A Soap Dish In A Window Sill. (Photo By: MyLoupe/UIG Via Getty Images)

Also, Bar soaps can be recycled (Deer, 2015, April 18); Body Washes and liquid hand wash Soaps cannot be recycled. The use of bar soap versus body wash is also an act of conservation. They use less packaging than body wash and the product is much lighter and more compact to ship due to the lower water content.

Marketing people in Jamaica, sensing a similar shift in Jamaica, may be ramping up bar soap sales (Deer, 2016, January 16). But the end of Bar soaps in Jamaica may be inevitable, as noted with the switch away from Triclosan in soaps (Brouillette, 2016, September 2) containing microbeads (Deer, 2016, January 3).

So expect the USA and UK to begin dumping these unwanted products at cut rate prices on our shores.


  1. Deer, L. (2015, April 18). @CleantheWorld Recycles Hotel Soap – How Hand Washing and Bathing with Recycled Soap can stem Ebola’s Rise in West Africa. Retrieved from http://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com/2015/04/Clean-the-World-Hand-Washing-Bathing-Recycled-Soap-Ebola.html
  2. Deer, L. (2016, January 3). How US microbeads ban by 2017 means NEPA ban coming to protect Coral Reefs. Retrieved from http://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com/2016/01/US-microbeads-NEPA-Jamaican-importation-Coral-Reefs.html
  3. Deer, L. (2016, January 16). How the return of Lux Soap means Bathing with the Stars is possible. Retrieved from https://lindsworthdeer.wordpress.com/2016/01/02/how-the-return-of-lux-soap-means-bathing-with-the-stars-is-possible/
  4. Farber, M. (2016, August 25). Why Americans Are Dumping Bar Soap for Liquids. Retrieved from http://fortune.com/2016/08/25/bar-soap-declining-sales/
  5. Gray, R. (2016, August 26). Millennials are turning away from soap bars: Sales plunge as young people opt for more ‘hygienic’ hand wash. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3760007/Millennials-turning-away-soap-bars-Sales-plunge-young-people-opt-hygienic-hand-wash.html
  6. Deer, L. (2016, August 26). How GraceKennedy and Hi-Lo can achieve 98% of soap powder market in 2 years. Retrieved from https://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com/2016/08/gracekennedy-1-dollar-soap-powder.html
  7. Brouillette, M. (2016, September 2). U.S. Bans Common Chemicals in Antibacterial Soaps. Retrieved from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/u-s-bans-common-chemicals-in-antibacterial-soaps/
  8. PRNewswire. (2016, September 14). Bar Soap Is Squeaky Clean. Retrieved from http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/bar-soap-is-squeaky-clean-300327722.html



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