Word-of-mouth and social media are powerful drivers of product adoption, but what about products that people don't want to talk or post about?
Menstrual cups have been rising in popularity compared to tampons and pads. On the one hand, reusable cups aren’t the ongoing moneymakers that disposable products like tampons and pads are; on the other, they take up far less shelf space and — at around $20 to $40 per cup — command much higher margins. And for consumers, cups are not only a way to cut down on waste, but also often a more cost-effective option, as they only need to be replaced every couple of years.
They’re also a way to reduce waste since they replace a disposable product with one that lasts for years. But they still need to be cleaned, and this has led to growth in interest in menstrual cup cleaners.
The traditional cleaning process for menstrual cups is to boil them in water, typically in a kitchen pot that's set aside for just this purpose. That's not especially challenging for someone who lives alone, but consumers with roommates or kids say it can lead to awkward encounters. Since younger consumers are more likely to change habits or start new ones, both situations—roommates at first and kids later on—are increasingly common. And as menstrual cup adoption rises, dedicated cleaning devices that are kept in the bathroom, not the kitchen, are growing in popularity.
Unlike many products where companies have the consumer’s entire life to fight over brand loyalty, menstrual products become very hard to market after a consumer’s childhood, when they’re usually introduced to a specific product by their mother. And although it’s usually from mother to daughter, companies have tried to circumvent this. In fact, the majority of U.S. elementary schools hold a sex-ed program called “Always Changing” which is sponsored by P&G’s Always pads and includes free product samples.