DUDEwipes is (if you'll pardon the wordplay) a cheeky brand of flushable wipes.
As you might expect, they saw tremendous growth in 2020 that was almost certainly fueled by an irrational pandemic-driven shortage of toilet paper and the subsequent demand for any and all available alternatives.
Pundits proclaimed the company's 2020 success was "so lucky" and that the growth couldn't possibly continue post-pandemic.
Which is perhaps why Sean Riley, Chief Executive DUDE at the company, appeared to take such pleasure in posting this chart on his LinkedIn feed this week:
Let's be clear: 81% YOY growth deserves to be celebrated.
But this growth actually shouldn't come as a surprise.
* People who may not have previously considered using flushable wipes might have been forced to give them a try during the pandemic's toilet-paper shortages. I know I purchased a pack for the first time as an "emergency reserve", just in case the shortages became more severe. Here's the key: the pandemic forced people to break established habits and consider new alternatives.
* It's a safe bet people who tried flushable wipes liked using them; they're inarguably superior to toilet paper, and if not for the price-premium, would have likely killed traditional TP long ago. The generally higher price of flushable wipes is certainly a purchase factor, but during the pandemic, many people found themselves with extra disposable income... and spending a little extra on your "personal cleaning solution" may not have been a big deal. Those doing so for long enough would have formed a new habit, and a subset of those users would eventually decide to continue investing in their comfort and make the switch permanent, fueling repeat sales.
* And a subset of THOSE users would have become category loyalists and brand advocates, telling their friends and family about the benefits of flushable wipes. Word-of-Mouth is still (and always will be) the most powerful form of advertising.
So is that 81% YOY growth impressive. It sure is!
Is it unexpected? Not really. Great products that can effectively take advantage of habit-breaking events are generally going to perform well.
There's one missing factor in the explanation above, though... did you catch it?
It's that, despite everything above, DUDEwipes wouldn't have seen any growth if they weren't able to meet the demand created by those toilet-paper shortages.
The situation they found themselves in may have been "lucky", but they were clearly prepared to meet the opportunity that COVID created for them and execute with excellence.
And you know what they say: luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.