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What’s behind Unilever’s strong first quarter results?


A quick look at the brands, categories and innovations driving our strong underlying sales growth for the first quarter of 2023.

Woman in a blue shirt standing against a blue car, drinking a bottle of Liquid I.V.

On 27 April, we announced our results for the first quarter of 2023, which reflected a good start to the year with another quarter of strong topline growth. Underlying sales growth (USG) accelerated to 10.5%, with turnover up 7.0% on the same period last year.

Our growth was broad-based across our five business groups and underpinned by strong performances from our billion+ euro brands – in particular OMO, Hellmann’s, Rexona and Lux – which delivered 12.1% USG and now account for 54% of Group turnover.

“We are continuing to execute well on our strategic priorities,” said Unilever CEO Alan Jope. “We have stepped up both the effectiveness of our innovation and the investment behind our brands. We continue to shift our portfolio into higher growth spaces, with the delivery of another quarter of double-digit sales growth in Prestige Beauty and Health & Wellbeing.

“We remain focused on navigating through continued macroeconomic uncertainty and are confident in our ability to deliver another year of strong growth, which remains our first priority.”

Here’s a look at the performance highlights from each business group, and how innovation from our brands is driving this positive momentum.

Consumer using Dermalogica’s Dynamic Skin Retinol Serum.

Beauty & Wellbeing

Within our Beauty & Wellbeing business group, the Hair Care category delivered high single-digit growth and also returned to positive volume growth, helped by the continued roll-out of our Sunsilk relaunch. TRESemmé grew strongly and the new Clear Anti Hair Fall in China continued to perform well.

In our Skin Care category, Vaseline and Pond’s delivered double-digit growth, supported by innovations with additional consumer benefits, such as the premium Gluta-Hya serum which revitalises skin overnight and boosts skin elasticity. Read more about some of Vaseline’s innovations.

Prestige Beauty and Health & Wellbeing delivered another quarter of double-digit growth with strong contributions from Paula’s Choice, Hourglass and Liquid I.V. Read more about our Prestige Beauty and Health & Wellbeing businesses.

A selection of Sure and Dove deodorant products. Dove is one of Unilever’s €1 brands.

Personal Care

In our Personal Care business group, the Deodorants category grew high double-digit. Rexona accelerated its strong performance, helped by premium and superior 72-hour protection technology. We launched our Axe Fine Fragrance range, which combines odour protection with fine fragrances and freshness, contributing to double-digit growth for the brand. Read more about Rexona here.

Skin Cleansing grew high single-digit, driven by Latin America and South Asia. In the US, we launched our first Dove 24-hour Renewing Micromoisture body wash which actively regenerates the skin’s moisture. Lux grew double-digit, still benefiting from the relaunch of its bars which provide a further improved skin care experience, delivering glow and flawless complexion.

Growth in Oral Care was helped by Close Up which grew double-digit with good performance in South Asia and Africa.

Pack of Persil Eco Refill. Persil sits within Unilever’s Home Care business group and is one of our €1 brands.

Home Care

In Home Care, our Fabric Cleaning category grew double-digit, with capsules and liquids performing well as we continued to drive premiumisation. We launched plastic-free packaging for our capsules in France and the UK under OMO. Our Fabric Enhancers category grew high single-digit, driven by price. Comfort grew strongly in Latin America and Turkey. Read about our Dirt Is Good laundry brands.

In our Home & Hygiene category, Domestos grew double-digit and we launched new Power Foams which expand once applied to eliminate germs, even in the hardest-to-reach places.

Shopper holding a bottle of Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise. Hellmann’s sits within Unilever’s Nutrition business group.


In our Nutrition business group, the growth of our Dressings category was led by Hellmann’s, with communication centred on our ‘Make taste not waste’ campaign. Read more about how Hellmann’s is growing.

The biggest category in this business group, Scratch Cooking Aids, grew high single-digit. Africa, where we relaunched fortified Knorr stock cubes to address iodine and zinc deficiencies, grew double-digit with positive price and volume while North Asia declined.

Our business-to-business arm, Unilever Food Solutions, grew double-digit as China recovered throughout the quarter and other markets continued to deliver strong growth.

Overhead view of various Magnum and Cornetto ice creams in a freezer cabinet.

Ice Cream

In-home Ice Cream grew low single-digit but volumes declined as consumption remained impacted across regions by the discretionary nature of the category in a heavily inflationary environment. Out-of-home Ice Cream grew double-digit with positive price and volume in anticipation of a good ice cream season.

Magnum grew strongly, supported by our new Starchaser and Sunlover limited-edition innovation, while the Heart brand grew mid single-digit. Cornetto grew double-digit, helped by the launch of limited-edition variants. Read more about our Magnum and Wall’s brands.

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