P&G answers K-C with swim diaper Luvs Splashwear

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Procter & Gamble Co. will take a dip into swim diapers this year with Luvs Splashwear, aiming to undercut rival Kimberly-Clark Corp.'s Huggies Little Swimmers on price in a small but highly profitable segment.

P&G will back the launch with TV and print advertising from Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, breaking May 15. The ads are scheduled to reach 65% of U.S. households, according to sales materials presented to retailers. A $1 national newspaper coupon is to appear June 11.

Luvs Splashwear, which begins shipping to stores in April, will sell for $6.29 for a pack of nine, about $1.25 per pack less than Little Swimmers, but both products will remain well over twice the cost of ordinary diapers on a per-diaper basis.


Though one retailer estimated Huggies' Little Swimmers likely accounts for less than 2% of the $4.2 billion disposable diaper category, the product has proved highly profitable for retailers and the manufacturer. Luvs Splashwear will offer retailers a roughly 20% profit margin, compared to margins typically of 5% or less for ordinary diapers.

"Now a lot of swim clubs and hotels are requiring little kids have [swim diapers] on before they get in the pool," said the retailer. "A lot of the hotels are actually selling [Little Swimmers] in their concession stands."

In an unusual move, P&G is outsourcing manufacturing of the product to a European company, the retailer said, apparently in a move to speed the product to market in time for summer swim season.

Unlike Huggies Little Swimmers, which are designed to contain but not absorb, Luvs has an absorbent core that P&G claims won't bloat in the water.

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