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Unilever SWOT & PESTLE Analysis

ID : 52117453| Sep 2020| 17 pages


Business Sector :FMCG - Fast Moving Consumer Goods

Operating Geography :United Kingdom (London), Netherlands (Rotterdam), Europe, Global

About Unilever :

Unilever an Anglo-Dutch multinational consumer goods company founded in 1930, by the merger of Dutch firm, Margarine Unie and British firm, Lever Brothers. Unilever has over 400 brands across food, personal care and household cleaning segments and is co-headquartered in Rotterdam, Netherlands and London, U.K. It has over 150,000 employees in more than 190 countries as of 2020. Unilever is one of largest consumer goods company and ranks the seventh position of being most valuable company in Europe.
With a huge array of diversified products and brands Unilever over its competitors ,is the consumers first choice brand, as it always has something for all. Unilever always focuses towards what is trending and what is demanding amidst its consumers, spending a lot of time and money on Research and development, it ensures to be innovative all the time it comes up with new product or brand.
Unilever’s USP or unique selling proposition is clearly its sustainable business model, with commitment of providing their global consumers with products that make them look good and feel good, creating a top of the mind brand recall scenario. Unilever’s vision statement is simple with a clear purpose of making sustainable living common place, which means their sustainable business plan will impel in long term business growth. Unilever’s mission is targeted in adding endurance to lives of their global consumers by helping them meet their basic everyday needs like nutrition, hygiene and personal health care

Unilever Revenue :

€51.9 billion – FY ending 31st Dec 2019 (y-o-y growth 1.96%)
€50.9 billion – FY ending 31st Dec 2018 (y-o-y growth -5.21%)
€53.7 billion – FY ending 31st Dec 2017 (y-o-y growth 2%)
€52.7 billion – FY ending 31st Dec 2016

Ownership / Major shareholders :

Unilever N.V. (NV) and Unilever PLC (PLC) operate as a single economic entity under the Unilever Group. The Equalisation Agreement between NV and PLC makes each Unilever N.V. ordinary share represent the same interest as Unilever PLC ordinary share.The Significant shareholders (ordinary shares) of Unilever PLC and NV as of 31 December 2016:
a) PLC Shares: BlackRock - 6.4%, The Leverhulme Trust - 5.3%
b) NV Shares: The Foundation Unilever N.V. Trust Office - 79.68%, BlackRock – 3.9%, ASR Nederland N.V. (ASR) -0.14% NN Group N.V. (NN) - 0.32%

Competitive Analysis of Unilever

The SWOT analysis for Unilever is presented below:
1. Strong financial performance and strategy
2. Strong Popular Brands
3. Evolving Portfolio and Developing Channels
4. Substantial Strategic Investments to Drive Growth
5. R&D Focus and Integrated Supply Chain
1. Decline in grocery segment
2. Dependence on distributors and retailers
1. Potential in emerging markets
2. Growing demand for premium and specialized high-end products in skin care segment
1. Global and regional competitors
2. Private label brands from retailers
3. Divergent global market environment
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Detailed SWOT Analysis of Unilever



1. Strong Financial Performance and Strategy: Unilever has delivered sustainable high Return on invested capital (ROIC) in the range of 17-19% over the past few years. Its Free Cash Flow as percentage of Core Net Profit stood at 80% in 2016 and the company has increased it further to around 98% by FY2019. It declared a healthy dividend of €1.64 in FY2019 and the dividend has been growing by 7% CAGR since the last decade. The company has also significantly improved upon the working capital and fixed asset efficiency. The investments made over the years in advertising, supply chain and IT are also helping the company in higher savings retention. Unilever also ranked at #167 in the Fortune Global 500 for the year 2019.

2. Strong Popular Brands: Unilever has strong brands across the major FMCG segments. It has 13 core brands which sales of €1 billion or above as of 2016. Its Sustainable Living brands like Dove, Lifebuoy and Knorr aim at delivering social and environmental impacts and accounted for half of the organizations growth.

3. Evolving Portfolio and Developing Channels: Unilever has invested in evolving and diversifying is portfolio of products. The acquisition of Dollar Shave Club, the online men's razor seller which sells blades per months subscription. This sets up Unilevers entry into men’s shaving segment which is currently dominated by P&G’s Gilette. This also develops and strengthens Unilever e-commerce channels. The acquisition of Blueair marks Unilevers entry in indoor air purification technology extending Unilever’s water purification business and strengthens its Home Care portfolio.

In a strategic move to strengthen its presence in the Chinese market, Unilever is using the online channel, Alimama - Alibaba’s ad network and marketing services platform. Alimama’s Taobao Affiliate Network helps position Unilever as a unique seller, advertiser and sponsor in the online market.

The remaining section under "Strength" is available only in the 'Complete Report' on purchase.


This section is available only in the 'Complete Report' on purchase.


This section is available only in the Complete report on purchase.


This section is available only in the Complete report on purchase.

Major Competitors :

Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive, Kimberley Clark, Henkel, Loreal, Nestle, PepsiCo, Reckitt Benckiser, ConAgra, Johnson & Johnson

Major Brands :

Axe/Lynx., Blue Band, Dermalogica, Dove, Flora / Becel, Heartbrand, Hellmann's and Best Foods, Knorr, Surf, Magnum
For the complete list read more

Key Business Segments / Diversification :

Food and Grocery Cleaning Ice Cream Dental Care Men's Grooming
Refreshments Bath & Shower Deodrants Home Care
Skin Care Premium Cosmetics Soaps and Detergents

Recent Acquisition / Mergers / Alliance / Joint Ventures / Divestitures :

Open Table Preview
Name of the CompanyBusiness SegmentYearTypeObjective/Synergy achieved
Pukka Herbs Ltd.Organic herbal tea business2017AcquisitionThe acquisition strengthens Unilever's tea business. Pukka is a natural player in the natural, organic, health and wellness segment, which is fast growing attractive and scalable.
Living Proof Inc.Premium hair care2017AcquisitionLiving Proof will add to the Prestige Hair retail market which is very attractive and brings along with it brands like Dermalogica, Kate Somerville, Murad and REN.
Hourglass Luxury colour cosmetics brand2017AcquisitionIt is the first colour brand in Unilever's prestige portfolio which is acclaimed for its breakthrough formulations and technological innovation, including the use of active ingredients in complexion products.
Source: Company website and other reliable sources. The detailed table is available in the Complete Report.
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Check Out Analysis of Other Relevant Companies

References used in Unilever Analysis Report

1. UnileverAnnual Report 2019:

2. Unilever Investor Presentation Nov 2016:

3. Why is Unilever Rushing Towards Premium Personal Care Brands?:

4. Size of the global skin care market from 2012 to 2021:

5. Skin Care Products Market Size Is Projected To Reach USD 196.67 Billion By 2024: Grand View Research, Inc:

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