Inside our markets: Unilever in the USA
It’s the biggest market for four out of five of our business groups and contributed almost a fifth of Unilever’s total turnover last year. Take a closer look at our €12 billion business in North America.
How has Unilever grown in the USA in recent years?
North America contributed 19% of Unilever’s total turnover last year and it’s one of our top three strategic priority markets worldwide, along with India and China.
What is driving this strong growth?
Our top priority for Unilever in the USA is shifting our portfolio to high-growth spaces.
As part of that, we’ve strengthened our investment in the fast-growing health and wellbeing sector. The is now a €1 billion+ portfolio of lifestyle brands and North America is its biggest market by far. This thriving part of our business reported its tenth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth in July, and in 2022 we acquired Nutrafol, the No.1 dermatologist recommended hair growth supplement in the USA.
We’re also investing in new science-led products for underserved consumers, with products for melanin-rich skin and textured hair at the forefront. Scientists at our in Trumbull, Connecticut, specialise in creating ingredients and products that address the unmet needs of millions of consumers – and their innovations have already been introduced in lines from Vaseline, Dove and SheaMoisture.
Our Nutrition business group reported double-digit growth in North America in our 2022 results, with our Hellmann’s brand performing notably well. And our Ice Cream business group grew by high single digits in the region too.
In our first half-year results for 2023, we also reported encouraging growth from Dove, one of the biggest brands in our global business.
How long has Unilever operated in the USA?
Unilever’s history in the USA began when Lever Brothers factories opened to make Sunlight soap in 1899 in Boston and Philadelphia. Several of our brands were on sale across North America by the early 20th century.
In 1952, Lever Brothers opened its Lever House office on Park Avenue – a blue-green glass-covered tower 24 storeys high, which spanned the block from 53rd to 54th street. It won the Office of the Year award in 1953.
What are Unilever’s most popular brands in the USA?
Our biggest brands (in alphabetical order) are Axe, Ben & Jerry’s, Degree, Dove, Hellmann’s, Knorr, Magnum, TRESemmé and Vaseline.
Some of the fastest-growing brands in our Unilever Prestige business are Dermalogica, Hourglass, Murad and Paula’s Choice.
And from our Health & Wellbeing Collective, Liquid I.V., Nutrafol and Olly are also growing at pace.
How are our brands bringing their purpose to life in the USA?
In the USA, the law in many states does not protect people from race-based hair discrimination. It means Black adults can be denied career opportunities and children can be excluded from school – just because they choose to wear their hair naturally, or style it into braids, locs or twists.
In 2019, legislation was passed in several states to prevent this prejudice. , which stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair – a law which prohibits racial discrimination based on natural textures and Black hair styles. The CROWN Act or similar legislation has now been passed in 23 states and Dove and its partners are working to reach many more.
Another example of a brand putting its purpose into practice is . Its Make Taste, Not Waste campaign has inspired millions of people with practical ideas to use up their leftovers so they’re not throwing away good food. The brand has also switched to 100% cage-free eggs in the USA and 100% recycled plastic jars and bottles.
Meanwhile, is backing Black business owners to grow their passion projects into thriving firms. The initiative is supported by a TV show airing nationwide on the Roku Channel, which follows the journey of three inspiring entrepreneurs.
And finally, what makes this market unique?
The USA is Unilever’s biggest market for four out of five of our business groups: Beauty & Wellbeing, Personal Care, Nutrition and Ice Cream.
Approximately 50% of the plastic packaging we use in the USA is made from recycled content – and we’re working to increase that figure. Brands such as Dove and Seventh Generation have launched ultra-concentrated or refillable formats too.
And our USA business has also achieved gender parity at managerial level and above.
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