Unilever’s Sales Decline Due to Change in Trend

Category: Business


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. dwindle / ˈdwɪn dl / (v) – to decrease in number

    The company’s profit dwindled because its operations had to stop during the typhoon.

  2. turn onto / tɜrn ˈɒn tu / (idiom) – to become interested in something else

    Consumers usually turn onto cheaper products.

  3. recoup / rɪˈkup / (v) – to recover from something

    We need to change our strategies to recoup our losses.

  4. reputation / ˌrɛp yəˈteɪ ʃən / (n) – one’s public image

    Our company has a good reputation.

  5. parallel / ˈpær əˌlɛl / (v) – to pattern something with another

    We paralleled our company’s mission and vision with that of our parent company.


Read the text below.

Consumer goods giant Unilever reported that its sales have dwindled after consumers started to turn onto healthier products.

The producer of the popular ice cream products Magnum and Ben & Jerry’s cited the competition against small healthy food brands as one of the reasons for the decrease in sales. In fact, Magnum’s sales are losing against a low-sugar and low-calorie ice cream made by Halo Top Creamery, an ice cream company that was founded only in 2011.

In order to regain profitability, Unilever had to limit its expenses and raise the prices of its products. However, according to Charlie Huggins, a fund manager at a financial services company, this strategy is not enough to recoup Unilever’s sales. In addition, he suggests that the company should adapt to the changes in trend to maintain and improve its sales.

Unilever has started doing so by buying brands that use organic materials in making their products. Such brands include Pukka Herbs tea, Weis ice cream, and Carver makeup.

To boost sales, Unilever’s senior regional brand development manager Anser Aly said that the company needed to shift from being brand-centric to being consumer-centric. Being brand-centric means making products based on the company’s standards and reputation. On the other hand, being consumer-centric means making products based on the needs and wants of the consumers.

To be a consumer-centric company, Unilever resorted to social media and technology. It created its own applications and search engines that enable the company to track the products that consumers usually search. From these data, Unilever is able to parallel their products to the actual needs and wants of its consumers.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think Unilever’s solution to its decreasing sales would be effective? Why or why not?
• What do you think are the other factors that may affect Unilever’s sales?

Discussion B

• If you were to create your own business, would it be consumer-centric or brand-centric? Why?
• Would you focus on selling one product or several products? Why?