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What’s behind Unilever’s first quarter results?

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A quick look at the brands, categories and innovations driving our underlying sales growth for the first quarter of 2024. Plus, how we’re focusing our sustainability efforts so we can drive real change at scale.

Line-up of Unilever’s billion euro+ brands.

Our results for the first quarter of 2024 – which we announced on 25 April – showed improved volume growth.

Underlying sales were up 4.4%, with volume growth increasing to 2.2%. All five business groups reported underlying sales growth, led by Beauty & Wellbeing. Underlying sales and volume growth of our Power Brands – which now account for 75% of turnover – were up 6.1% and 3.8% respectively, with strong performances from Dove, Knorr, Rexona and Sunsilk.

Here’s a look at the results highlights from each business group, and how innovation from our brands is driving performance.

Bottle of Nutrafol Skin, a physician-formulated daily supplement for women designed to address the root causes of acne.

Beauty & Wellbeing

  • 7.4%underlying sales growth
  • 5.6%underlying volume growth
  • 21%of Group turnover

Hair Care

Hair Care delivered mid-single-digit growth with positive volume and price. Dove grew high single-digit supported by the launch of Scalp+ Hair Therapy, which is clinically proven to create optimal scalp health and hair density. Clear, the world’s bestselling shampoo for men, grew high single-digit helped by the continued roll-out of our patented anti-dandruff shampoo. Sunsilk grew double-digit while TRESemmé grew high single-digit and continued to expand its ultra-gloss Lamellar Shine shampoos and conditioners to new markets.

Skin Care

Core Skin Care grew mid-single digit with good growth in India and the US. This growth was partially offset by a low single-digit decline in North Asia driven by price. Vaseline grew double-digit with the successful roll-out of Gluta-Hya body care to new markets and the launch of new variants, including our Smooth and Glow range which offers the first body lotion with chemical exfoliation. Following the relaunch last year, POND’s face care continued its good momentum with high single-digit growth led by volume.

Health & Wellbeing and Prestige Beauty

Health & Wellbeing delivered another quarter of double-digit growth with the expansion of Liquid I.V. in the UK and strong contributions from Olly and Nutrafol. In Q1, we extended Nutrafol into skin care with a physician-formulated daily supplement for women designed to address the root causes of acne. Prestige Beauty grew double-digit led by Tatcha, Hourglass and Living Proof.

Advertising image showing Dove Hydration Boost serum body wash.

Personal Care

  • 4.8%underlying sales growth
  • 1.4%underlying volume growth
  • 23%of Group turnover

Deodorants

Deodorants grew double-digit with high single-digit volume growth. Growth was led by strong performances in Europe and Latin America. Dove’s double-digit growth was helped by the US launch of whole-body deodorants with 72-hour odour control for full-body freshness. Rexona and Axe contributed strong growth with continued momentum of our multi-year platforms, 72-hour non-stop odour and sweat protection, and our Fine Fragrance range.

Skin Cleansing

Skin Cleansing was flat with low single-digit price offset by volume declines. Q1 growth was impacted by deflation in India and market challenges in Indonesia. Dove grew high single-digit with mid-single-digit volume growth. In the US, we launched a premium range of Dove Body Wash infused with clinically proven skin care serums including hyaluronic acid, collagen and vitamin C.

Oral Care

Oral Care continued to grow mid-single digit with positive volume and price, led by double-digit growth in Closeup.

Advertising image of Usain Bold and Persil Wonder Wash with text that reads ‘Experience short cycle wonder’.

Home Care

  • 3.1%underlying sales growth
  • 4.3%underlying volume growth
  • 21%of Group turnover

Fabric Cleaning

Fabric Cleaning grew low single-digit with mid-single digit volume and negative price. This was led by Europe which grew high single-digit, with a return to positive volume growth. India and Latin America grew volume, which was partially offset by price declines in our powders portfolio as a result of commodity deflation. OMO grew low single-digit with mid-single-digit volume.

Home & Hygiene

Home & Hygiene grew mid-single digit with mid-single digit volume and slightly positive price. Cif and Domestos grew double-digit with strong volume. Following the successful launch of Domestos Power Foam in the UK in 2023, we expanded the product to new markets and extended the range to include specialist solutions to remove limescale and provide long-lasting fragrance.

Jar of Knorr Chicken Bouillon next to a bowl of noodles with vegetables.

Nutrition

  • 3.7%underlying sales growth
  • -0.4%underlying volume growth
  • 23%of Group turnover

Dressings

Dressings delivered mid-single-digit growth with positive price and volume. Hellmann’s led growth, supported by the relaunch of Plant Based Mayo and the launch of four new variants of Flavoured Mayo: Chipotle, Italian Herbs, Tajin, and Truffle.

Scratch Cooking Aids

Scratch Cooking Aids grew high single-digit. Knorr led growth as it continued to expand its multi-year ‘Eat for Good’ campaign, including superior Bouillon & Seasonings variants for both retail and foodservice. North America grew mid-single digit supported by the launch of ready-to-eat rice cups. Europe saw mid-single-digit price growth fully offset by a decline in volume, while Latin America, Africa and North Asia all grew double-digit.

Unilever Food Solutions

Unilever Food Solutions grew double-digit with high single-digit volume, led by strong growth in China against a soft comparator.

Magnum’s new mood-inspired ice cream flavours - Chill, Euphoria and Wonder - unwrapped on a serving dish and ready to eat.

Ice Cream

  • 2.3%underlying sales growth
  • -0.9%underlying volume growth
  • 12%of Group turnover

In-home Ice Cream was flat with price offset by a decline in volume. Out-of-home Ice Cream grew mid-single digit driven by price.

Wall’s grew mid-single digit with positive price and volume. Magnum declined low single-digit with price growth more than offset by a volume decline. We launched a new Magnum ‘Pleasure Express’ range with three variants: Euphoria, Wonder and Chill. Ben & Jerry’s and Cornetto grew low single-digit with positive volumes.

As we move into the main summer season, Ice Cream has made operational changes to drive improved productivity and investment behind our brands and innovations.

Sustainability: focusing on doing fewer things with greater impact

This quarter, we evolved our approach to sustainability with a refreshed set of commitments around four key issues: climate, nature, plastics and livelihoods.

The aim is to be more focused in allocating our resources towards our biggest priorities, more urgent in driving actions towards our long-term ambitions, and more systemic in our advocacy to address the enablers and blockers of progress outside of our direct control.

Last month, we published our latest Climate Transition Action Plan, with updated targets for achieving net zero emissions across our value chain. We have also shared details of the specific goals that we will pursue within each of the priority areas.

“We are doubling down in those areas that most materially impact the business and where a more focused approach will enable us to drive real change at scale,” says Unilever CEO Hein Schumacher. “And we are doing so with goals that are stretching, but that are also intentionally, and unashamedly, realistic.”

Read more from Hein and visit our Sustainability Hub for further details on our commitments and goals.

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