Economic environment and market position
In 2013, the relevant world market for laundry and home care was generally characterized by market decline, and further intensified price and promotional competition.
Despite these negative market developments and intense competition, our growth significantly outpaced the relevant market again in 2013. As a result, we were able to strengthen our leadership position and further expand our share in our relevant markets. This positive performance is attributable in particular to the successful introduction of our innovations, and the sustained success of our strong brands.
Trends in the mature markets were negative in both Western Europe and North America, influenced by the persistently difficult economic conditions and aggressive price and promotional activities. Throughout Western Europe, market trends varied significantly, with the markets in Southern Europe – these being most affected by high unemployment and consumer restraint as a result of the debt crisis – experiencing sharp declines. In contrast, the French market showed slight gains and the German market held stable. In this difficult environment, the Laundry & Home Care business unit was able to significantly increase its market share and expand its market leadership. In the North America region, despite a declining and intensely competitive market, market share was maintained at the level of the previous year.
Market growth in Eastern Europe was in the low single-digit range overall. The dynamic growth of the previous year weakened, and the market generally declined in the second half of the year, mainly due to an intensely competitive market environment in Russia. Despite ongoing political unrest, the Africa/Middle East region recorded strong market growth, although not at the level of the previous year. Our relevant markets in Latin America showed solid growth with rates in the mid-single digits. Henkel also posted stronger growth in the emerging markets than the relevant market as a whole and achieved gains in market share.