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US skin care market set for future recovery

By Simon Pitman , 19-Aug-2010
Last updated the 19-Aug-2010 at 17:59 GMT

After a difficult couple of years bought about by economic downturn, the US skin care market is poised for a return to healthy growth, market researcher Mintel forecasts.

In 2009 the total market for skin care in the US was valued at $4.35bn according to Mintel, a figure that had barely grown at all compared to the previous two years.

But with distinct signs of economic recovery and consumer spend on the rise, Mintel researchers believe that growth will return this year and continue at healthier rates for the medium term.

Helped by a stronger outlook for both the global and US economies Mintel researchers estimate that by 2013 the US skin care market will be valued at $4.97bn, representing a growth rate of 14.25 percent when compared to the 2009 figure and an annual increase of just over 3.5 percent.

Mintel believes that the biggest growth spurt will occur this year, with the market expected to grow by 4.9 percent year-on-year, to $4.56bn, while year-on-year growth in 2011, 2012 and 2013 will be 2.5 percent, 3.2 percent and 2.9 percent respectively.

Average US consumer spend remains low

However, despite the growth and the size of the market, the spend on skin care products as proportion of GDP remains one of the lowest in the world, estimated by Mintel to be 0.030 percent in 2009.

This figure reflects the fact that average retail prices are generally lower in the US, especially compared with Western Europe, as well as higher average incomes and the fact that the US remains the biggest economy in the world.

The driving force behind the growth forecasts for skin care in the country will continue to be driven by demand for anti-aging as well as natural and organic products – two key trends that have driven the market for the past ten years now.

The continued growth and importance of the anti-aging segment is underlined by the fact that in 2008, around 70 percent of the total skin care sales were accounted for by products for the facial segment, while the rest was made up of body care products.

Leading skin care brands focus on anti-aging

The importance of anti-aging products is also stressed by the fact that the leading brands in the country are primarily focused on anti-aging.

According to Mintel the top four skin care brands in 2008 were Olay Regenerist, with a 3.0 percent share of the market, Schering-Plough, with a 2.6 percent share, Olay Definity with a 1.5 percent share and L’Oreal Derm Expertise Advanced RevitaLift, with a 1.3 percent share.

Of these, the only player not focused on anti-aging skin care is Schering-Plough, a New Jersey based pharmaceutical companies that manufactures and markets the Coppertone sun care lines and the Dr. Scholl’s foot care lines – both of which fall into the body care category.

In terms of company market share, the biggest player in 2008 was Johnson & Johnson, with a 24.8 percent share of the market, while P&G had a 13.6 percent slice, Unilever 6.6 percent, L’Oreal 6.5 percent and Beierdsdorf 5.4 percent.

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