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Whitening toothpastes: something to smile about

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2013 – March 2014 (n=13,065).
Nothing beats a sparkling smile: just ask any Hollywood star. Sure, dental treatment doesn’t come cheap in Australia, but keeping your pearly whites looking their brightest and best between appointments needn’t cost the earth, with a wide range of specialist whitening toothpastes to choose from…

The path to pearlier whites

In the year to March 2014, 93% of Australian grocery-buyers bought toothpaste in an average six-month period, with Colgate being the most popular brand by far (purchased by 72% of grocery-buyers during this time).

Colgate also leads the whitening toothpaste category. Of the 28% of grocery buyers who purchased it in an average six months, almost half (13%) opted for Colgate Advanced Whitening.

Australians who bought whitening toothpaste in last 6 months (by age)


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2013 – March 2014 (n=13,065).

Perhaps surprisingly, it’s younger Australians who are more likely to buy whitening toothpaste, with 36% of 25–34 year-olds, 32% of 14–24 year-olds and 31% of 35–49 year-olds purchasing it in any given six months. It was less popular among Aussies aged 50 or over.

Angela Smith, Group Account Director - Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Roy Morgan data shows that Australians’ dental health has improved in recent years. For example, five years ago, 19% of the population reported having tooth decay in the previous 12 months — now it’s 14%. This seems to suggest that we are taking better care of our teeth than we used to.

“Dental health care is big business, with a wide range of products designed for this purpose. Many Australians use toothpastes designed to help with whiteness to maintain their teeth between dentist appointments. Brands like Colgate, Oral B and Macleans cater to this market with specialist variations on their more mainstream toothpastes.

“Contrary to expectation, young people are more likely than older Australians to buy whitening toothpaste. It’s unlikely their teeth are already heavily discoloured, but it’s possible that in our celebrity-fixated culture, they’re seeking a Hollywood-style smile without the expense (or discomfort) of a whitening procedure.

“For example, 38% of people from the Helix Personas segment New School Cool bought whitening toothpaste in the year to March 2014, well above the national average. Typically young, cashed-up, ambitious and socially active, New School Cool take pride in looking good.

“Savvy toothpaste brands with an in-depth understanding of this market stand to grow their customer base substantially if they can target these people with the right marketing.”

For comments or more information please contact:

Angela Smith,  Group Account Director - Consumer Products
Office: +61 (2) 9021 9101

Related research findings

View our extensive range of Toothpaste Buyer profiles, including a Sensodyne buyer profile, a Colgate buyer profile, and a Macleans toothpaste buyer profile. These profiles provide a broad understanding of the target audience, in terms of demographics, attitudes, activities and media usage in Australia.

About Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices in each state of Australia, as well as in New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan Research has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

In Australia, Roy Morgan Research is considered to be the authoritative source of information on financial behaviour, readership, voting intentions and consumer confidence. Roy Morgan Research is a specialist in recontact customised surveys which provide invaluable and effective qualitative and quantitative information regarding customers and target markets.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%