In recent years, oral health has increasingly become the focus of attention of the whole society. According to Dr. Lilac’s 2021 national health survey data, oral problems have ranked among the top 5 national health problems. The reason is that with the improvement of living standards, the eating habits of Chinese people have changed, the intake of foods mainly high in sugar and exquisite foods has increased, and the prevalence of teeth has increased sharply.
This issue is being addressed at the national level. In the “Healthy China 2030” plan, oral health is an important part of national health for the first time, and relevant guidance is given from the top-level design level.
Not only that, as Generation Z (the generation born between 1995 and 2009) gradually became the main consumer and the beauty economy penetrated into the oral industry, people are paying more and more attention to the overall image improvement brought by a neat white tooth. This has led to an escalation in the demand for oral care: products that are convenient, aesthetically pleasing, and social are gaining more consumer demand.
Capital is pouring in rapidly, and the gameplay in the industry has also changed rapidly, setting off an upgrading trend from different dimensions of “people, goods, and fields”. In this process, one-stop oral care such as dental floss, tooth stickers, mouthwash, and electric toothbrushes represented by the Shuke brand provides consumers with better oral health services based on new product iterations in terms of product composition, packaging, efficacy, and experience.
From the point of view of characteristics, this oral care boom is a pursuit battle for all parties in order to meet the diversified needs of consumers, but it is actually a technical battle that tests the R&D strength of various brands, because in order to have a certain foothold in the oral care market, especially the high-end market, technology and R&D breakthroughs must be the most important assessment factors.
The awakening of Chinese people’s awareness of oral health care
With the upgrading of health awareness and consumption, consumers’ demand for the efficacy of oral care is becoming more and more subdivided, and there are different levels of categories under multiple needs. The research and development of all categories requires segmented technical reserves. Under the market education of the national oral care brand represented by Vivici, oral care is no longer limited to daily cleaning based on toothpaste and toothbrushes, but to differentiated needs, all-round and in-depth cleaning care.
As early as the beginning of the twentieth century, most people in China had little awareness of oral care and a single way of care (relying only on a toothpaste and toothbrush), and 98% of people still suffered from oral problems. However, consumers in developed countries such as Europe and the United States have a strong awareness of oral care, and will use oral care tools to keep their mouths clean daily, while developing the habit of seeing the dentist regularly. Francesco Mintrone, a lecturer at a Swedish dental brand, said that taking a loan to see your teeth is as important as taking out a loan to buy a house, and Europeans brush their teeth three times a day, floss once, and spend about $200 a year to clean their teeth. This is in stark contrast to the weak awareness of oral care among Chinese people.
Aware of this gap at home and abroad, Shuke broke the mindset of “only selling toothpaste” in the traditional dental industry, positioned itself as “one-stop oral care”, and provided consumers with one-stop oral care solutions of “oral prevention – professional care – regular examination”, with a product line covering more than 100 professional full-category oral care products such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, dental flossing sticks, sonic toothbrushes and smart toothbrushes. It is hoped that through the one-stop oral care model, the development of oral health care for the industry and Chinese people will be promoted.
Take electric toothbrushes as an example, because of its high cleaning power characteristics have been very popular abroad and widely recognized by users in developed countries, but the penetration rate of domestic electric toothbrushes is extremely low, according to AC Nielsen related data, the use rate of electric toothbrushes in the United States is 42%, China is only less than 5%, in addition to market awareness, thousands of prices make the Chinese people prohibitive, there is a technical gap: the structural design of electric toothbrushes, detailed vibration, waterproofness, battery life, etc. need technical support.
In order to allow consumers to use affordable and quality assured electric toothbrushes, the team went deep into Europe, the United States and other places to conduct investigations, and officially started the battle for the development of electric toothbrushes.
“Manual toothbrushing force can easily cause unevenness, resulting in excessive brushing force and even bleeding of gum tissue. The electric toothbrush produces a balanced vibration under constant frequency and rotation, which can not only promote the blood circulation of the mouth, but also have a good massage and protection effect on the gum tissue, as an upgrade product of oral care, compared to manual toothbrushes, it also has a better ability to clean dental plaque and dental exogenous stains. The technological content of electric toothbrushes is high, and the use of new technologies, new processes, and new materials is also emerging. SCHUKE has carried out a lot of reserves and innovations in this regard. Chen Minshan, R&D director of Viviz, said when talking about the original intention of electric toothbrush development.
In order to make Vivici’s first electric toothbrush, Vivici’s team visited a large number of processing plants, suppliers, equipment factories and brush factories with rich experience and profound technical background abroad, and planned to cooperate. Senior experts of well-known foreign electric toothbrushes were also invited to conduct in-depth research and discussion on the structural design, circuit safety design, etc. of electric toothbrushes, and structural core components; And with professors from well-known universities in Guangdong Province, he conducted special research on the “Optimal Design and Research and Development of Electric Toothbrush Drive Motor”.
It was under the painstaking design and research that the first sonic electric toothbrush G1 owned by the adult brand Shuke was successfully launched. Due to the excellent performance of this electric toothbrush, it was well received by consumers as soon as it was launched, accelerating the popularity of electric toothbrushes in China and awakening the initial understanding of oral care of the people.
After the adult oral market has gained a certain popularity, the huge user base and young parents have paid more attention to children’s oral problems. According to the results of the fourth national oral health epidemiological survey, the caries rate of permanent teeth in 12-year-old children in China was 34.5%, an increase of 7.8 percentage points over 10 years ago; the caries rate of baby teeth in 5-year-old children was 70.9%, an increase of 5.8 percentage points over 10 years ago. Protecting children’s oral health is urgent.
The team noticed that children have different stages of growth and different dental conditions, so different solutions are needed to take care of them, but due to cognition and products, parents often do not know how to choose, and have become a long-term pain point for parent consumers.
Facing the urgent market demand, Vivici launched Shuke Baby, an oral care brand specially created for children, committed to bringing a safe, healthy, energetic and fun, luxurious and exquisite oral care experience to children aged 0-12. At the same time, according to the characteristics of tooth growth at different ages, we develop exclusive oral care products, including toothpaste, toothbrush, electric toothbrush, mouthwash, etc., to provide children with one-stop oral care solutions.
Chen Minshan said that children’s oral environment is very different from that of adults, and children’s oral environment is more tender and fragile than that of adults. When designing children’s products, Shuke Baby first considers the growth characteristics of teeth at different ages, and develops targeted oral care products for different stages; At the same time, based on the principle of safety, the requirements for the use of children’s raw materials are also higher than those of adults, such as the toothbrush of the Kebabe children’s series, all brush handle materials meet the requirements of the US FDA food contact material standards, and the brush wire is preferred from the nylon 612 material of DuPont of the United States and the Korean BBC double-sided sharpening wire, which can take good care of children’s young mouths and ensure the cleaning ability without damaging teeth.
In the face of the high incidence of dental caries in children, Shuke Baobao’s product formula is also developed and designed in a targeted manner, and the formula uses professional and safe ingredients for product development, from prevention, cleaning to treatment, paying attention to the complete set of services of children’s mouths to ensure the stability of product quality. In addition, the brand also takes into account the fun of the product to help guide children’s brushing habits.
In 2018, Shuke baby probiotic children’s toothpaste, which performed strongly as soon as it was launched, combined with the cross-border technology application of probiotic raw materials and the grasp of the popular trend of yogurt flavor, was recognized as a high-tech product in Guangdong Province in 2019 and won the Nielsen Most Breakthrough Innovation Award in 2021. Children’s sonic electric toothbrush, with outstanding performance and cartoon design appearance, the product once launched deeply loved by children.
Up to now, Shuke Baby has continued to launch different series of children’s sonic electric toothbrushes B32, B3 and F2. According to the 2020 Tmall category data, in 2020, the sales volume of Shuke baby children’s electric toothbrush ranked first, and the sales volume of Shuke baby children’s toothpaste ranked first.
It can be seen that today, when Chinese people pay more and more attention to oral health, the diversification of oral demand has accelerated, and it continues to drive the market scale to rise, which also brings great opportunities for domestic brands to optimize, fill, and even define the gap of market segments. Whether companies can grasp the core of this trend lies in whether to build barriers to technology and research and development to bring high-quality products and solutions that meet consumer needs.
The sword points to the actual pain points of consumers’ oral health, how to fight the technical battle?
With the advent of new consumption upgrades, people have also put forward higher requirements for entrants in the dental industry: future good products require more technical blessings and higher quality.
However, from a long-term perspective, technology and R&D are not things that can be done quickly in a year or two, but take five, ten or more years to accumulate. Therefore, it is not easy to go through the path of technology research and development.
However, once the barriers of technology and R&D are established, they can often build a deep enough moat for enterprises to bring more value to consumers. As a domestic brand, Shuke’s development path answers this question very well: from the beginning of its establishment, Shuke has established a research and development center, and has been practicing the development strategy of emphasizing R&D over marketing, and up to now, it has hundreds of patent rights.
The R&D center has set up five functional laboratories such as basic research, applied research, cell research, microbial research, analysis and testing, equipped with modern analysis and testing equipment, forming a “four-in-one” R&D pattern of early research, basic research, application development and high-tech industrialization, which is at the forefront of the industry. In addition, Vivici’s R&D and testing center has been recognized by the China Accreditation Service for Conformity Assessment (CNAS), covering 60 testing capabilities including toothpaste, toothbrush, mouthwash, raw materials and packaging materials, etc., and enterprises can issue third-party credible test reports.
As we all know, R&D is a knowledge-intensive and talent-intensive affair. To this end, the R&D center also carries out scientific research cooperation with West China School of Stomatology of Sichuan University, Guangzhou Medical University Affiliated Stomatological Hospital, Guangdong Institute of Microbiology, Guangzhou Institute of Quality Supervision and Testing, Weikai Testing Technology Co., Ltd. and other universities and institutes. The accumulation of technology brings about the continuous update and iteration of related products, so as to truly bring more diversified and better solutions to consumers’ oral health.
It can be seen that the competitiveness of Vivici enterprises does not lie in the hot sales of some products, but in the accumulation of technology behind the products.
“Above technology, we attach great importance to the quality of our products, especially safety and effectiveness. Taking the Shuke electric toothbrush as an example, it has obtained a clinical report issued by an authoritative and qualified clinical dental hospital, which verifies that the product has the effect of reducing dental plaque and removing exogenous stains of teeth. At the same time, Shuke electric toothbrush also passed the high-quality standard “CVC Excellent Product Certification”, which proved the superiority of product performance, and the project “Development and industrialization of electric toothbrush based on high-performance brushless frequency conversion vibration system” based on self-developed Saky Sonic clean technology also won the second prize of scientific and technological progress of China Light Industry Federation. Chen Minshan said that whether it is product quality or product efficacy, whether it is internal testing or external evaluation, Shuke electric toothbrush can make consumers satisfied and assured in terms of product cleaning power, vibration intensity, brushing comfort and other aspects.
In the follow-up research and development, in order to meet the care needs of consumers for electric toothbrushes to the greatest extent, Shuke also independently developed and established a set of five-dimensional comprehensive evaluation models, comprehensively evaluated an electric toothbrush product from different dimensions, and customized and developed an electric toothbrush cleaning power test equipment for evaluation, making the evaluation more scientific and objective. At present, with the market changes and the continuous update and iteration of the brand, Shuke’s electric toothbrush products have formed a matrix layout of entry-level, standard, and flagship models, meeting the oral care needs of different consumer groups.
In addition, the sustainable and steady development of the industry, only relying on a single or a few enterprises is far from enough, the most critical is to improve the overall technical level of the industry, and ensure the quality of nursing products, so it is urgent for relevant enterprises to promote the formulation of industry standards.
As an industry innovation leader, Shuke has taken on its responsibilities, drafted a number of industry standards such as “Tooth Sticker”, “Determination of Steviol Glycosides in Toothpaste”, and participated in the formulation of many national standards such as “General Technical Requirements for the Safety of Toothbrush and Oral Appliance Products” and “Detection Methods of Inorganic Sulfites in Toothpaste”, which has promoted another step forward in China’s oral health care industry.
It is not difficult to find that on the way to enter the era of upgrading in China’s oral care industry, the emphasis on technology and research and development is the underlying logic that supports the sustainable development of related enterprises and industries.
Now, the oral circuit is still heating up. There are also many variables in the future development of the oral care industry.
From the perspective of the evolution of the industry, the oral care industry is very likely to differentiate into two different models, one is cross-category horizontal development, and the other is professional in-depth development. However, from the experience of Shuke, it can be found that the choice of method is not the most important, if enterprises want to establish barriers in this track, they must rationally recognize a problem: whether it is products or marketing, the core of oral care brand competition is whether it can create a team that prioritizes technology research and development, and quickly adapts to the market and constantly iterates itself.
In the future, the oral care market will become larger and larger, and there will be more and more opportunities, but at the same time, more and more companies and products will appear.
Therefore, for oral care companies, this is undoubtedly the best of times and the most competitive times. In this process, only by taking users as the core and attaching importance to technology and R&D innovation can we leave real gold in the big waves.