The Korea Herald


P&G Korea to pull out of South Korea’s sanitary pad market

By Kim Da-sol

Published : Dec. 7, 2018 - 14:23

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The Korean unit of Proctor and Gamble, a household and personal care goods company, is pulling out from the domestic sanitary pad market, amid dwindling sales after the company was hit by a scandal involving potentially toxic pads. 

P&G Korea has decided to withdraw its sanitary pad brand Whisper, citing changing market trends, the characteristics of Korean consumers and its business portfolio. 

(P&G Korea) (P&G Korea)

However, the company said it would not be leaving the diaper market, adding that it would strengthen sales of diapers through online malls. It currently sells imported baby diapers under the brand Pampers. 

P&G entered the Korean sanitary pad market in 1989 and became the No. 1 player with a market share of 50 percent in the 1990s with its signature brand Whisper. 

Its market share fell to 5.1 percent in the first quarter of this year, amid growing competition, as rival companies have launched different varieties including organic and full-cotton pads. 

Yuhan-Kimberly topped the market with a share of 42.6 percent, followed by LG Unicharm (19.7 percent) and Kleannara (5.5 percent) in the same period. 

Industry sources said that P&G Korea had stopped its production line of sanitary pads in Cheonan, Gyeonggi Province, late last year. Its products will be pulled off shelves by early next year. 

Last year, P&G Korea came under fire for selling sanitary pads and diapers that allegedly contained potentially toxic substances.

In March 2017, the Korean Women’s Environmental Network conducted a toxicity test on five sanitary pads and five panty liners from five producers, including Yuhan-Kimberly, P&G and LG Unicharm. The results of the test showed that pads from Joeun Neukkim, Whisper and Sofy had volatile organic compounds that can be harmful to the body. 

By Kim Da-sol (