Competitors of Unilever (Unilever Competitor analysis)

By: | Tags:

Competitors of Unilever (Unilever Competitor analysis)

This article aims to examine some of the main competitors of Unilever. Unilever is a British-Dutch multinational company, headquartered in London and Rotterdam. It operates in consumer goods industry and has taken its products to around 190 countries and territories. As its inception was in 1929, it is regarded as one of the oldest multinational companies in the world.

Competitors of Unilever (Unilever Competitor analysis)

There is no doubt that the landscape of the consumer goods industry is very competitive. A number of big players vie hard for the global market shares. Some of the big names in the industry are Proctor & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Nestle, Colgate Palmolive, Mondelez International, L’OREAL, and Edgewell Personal Care. They are all in stiff competition with Unilever. Likewise, there are so many other names in the industry e.g. Tyson Foods, JBS, Danone, Kimberly Clark, Kellogg, Henkel, Brasil Foods, and Estee Lauder to name but a few that Unilever must take into consideration while devising its competitive strategies.

Nestlé, a Swiss multinational corporation, is at the top of the FMCG (Fast moving consumer goods) industry. It is very closely followed by Proctor & Gamble, an American multi-national company, headquartered in Ohio. These two competitors put enormous pressures on Unilever. Apart from the big players in the market, Unilever also faces many other small competitors who compete with it in a limited and specific product arena. For instance, companies like My/Mo and Salt & Straw are making good progress in the ice cream market in the USA and the EU and are likely to affect the ice cream market shares of Unilever.

In fact, Unilever does not see big players as the stiffest competitors. In an interview in 2014, Paul Polman, the then head of the company said: ‘We don’t see Procter & Gamble as our toughest competitor’. According to him, most of the competitors abroad and particularly in the emerging markets are regional players. Therefore, the company adopted intensive acquisition strategies to fend off some of the small competitors e.g. it took over Qinyuan, a Chinese company, and Kalina, a Russian company, many years ago (Daneshkhu, 2014). Likewise, it invests heavily on innovation to explore new market segments to increase its market share.

In addition to acquisition, Unilever also sometimes cooperates with its competitors in certain projects. For instance, Hindustan Unilever (Unilever’s business in India) and Tata Global Beverages are the largest competitors in global tea exporting industry. However, they also cooperate with each other to improve tea farming practices and the livelihood of thousands of small farmers involved in India’s tea industry (Unilever, 2020).

We hope the article ‘Competitors of Unilever (Unilever Competitor analysis)’ has been helpful. You may also like reading SWOT analysis of Unilever. Other relevant articles for you are:

Marketing mix of Unilever (4Ps of Unilever)

PESTEL analysis of the Netherlands

If you liked any of these articles, please feel free to share with others by clicking on the icons below. Also enter your email address at the bottom of the site to ‘Join us’ free for our newly published articles and newsletters.

Last update: 30 October 2020

References/further reading

Daneshkhu, S. (2014) Stiffest competition from local business, says Unilever chief, available at: https://www.ft.com/content/38ec7140-17d6-11e4-b842-00144feabdc0 (accessed 27 October 2020)

Unilever (2020) Could your greatest competitor become your greatest collaborator? available at: https://www.unilever.com/news/news-and-features/Feature-article/2020/could-your-greatest-competitor-become-your-greatest-collaborator.html (accessed 28 October 2020)

Author: Joe David

Joe David has years of experience both in the UK and abroad. He writes regularly online on a variety of topics. He has a keen interest in business, hospitality and tourism management.