Women's skin care rules US cosmetics sector

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cosmetics, Human skin color

Skin care has proved to be one of the few areas of growth in an
otherwise stagnant US cosmetics and toiletries market, prompting
marketers to maintain a constant flow of new product launches
within the category.

Skin care products generated sales of over $5.3 billion in the mass and prestige department store channels in 2004, according to the latest report from the NPD Group.

Accordingly, skincare was the only beauty category in the mass channel to report an increase in 2004; it also was the second fastest-growing beauty category in prestige department stores, sustaining steady growth of four to six percent over the past five years.

"In recent years, skincare has undergone a makeover to meet consumers' evolving needs and demands,"​ said Karen Grant, senior industry analyst for The NPD Group's beauty division.

"While skincare products in the '90s were almost exclusively focused on wellness and simple body care lotions, today, skincare is one of the most dynamic, fascinating and technologically advanced segments of the beauty market,"​ she added.

The report also reveals that 89 per cent of women said they use skincare products, such as facial moisturizers, body moisturizers, eye creams and cleansers, more than any other type of beauty item.

Skincare was followed by makeup (84 per cent), shaving products/hair removers (84 per cent), bath products (82 per cent), and fragrance products (77 per cent). Herbal supplements and sunless tanning products were the least-used products among consumers surveyed.

Body and facial moisturizers rank first and second, respectively, in terms of the types of skincare products used by the largest groups of women, the report also highlights. Some 77 per cent of all women who use some type of skincare product reported using body moisturizers, compared to 74 per cent who use facial moisturizers.

While equal numbers across all age segments report using body moisturizers, older women are more likely than their younger counterparts to use facial moisturizers. Over eight in ten women over the age of 45 said they use facial moisturizers, compared to just two in three women between the ages of 18 and 24.

Many women purchase skincare products monthly, but for some skincare products, regular replenishment levels are low. Skincare products with the highest daily usage levels, such as body cleansers, body moisturizers and lip products are also the products women purchase once a month or more often. (45 per cent, 32 per cent and 31 per cent, respectively).

Although older women are more likely to use facial moisturizers more frequently, they replenish less often than younger users. The report highlights possible reasons for lower rate of replenishment among older consumers.

These reasons include the fact that older women often have more disposable income and so will often buy larger packages of skin care product, resulting in greater gaps in between replenishing skin care products.

The report also points out the younger women ten to shop with greater frequency than older women, but use beauty products less frequently.

"As consumer focus shifts to staple items that benefit personal well-being, skincare will continue to play an increasingly important role. More and more products are entering the beauty market and skincare is becoming more complex, so it is essential to ensure that consumers do not become overwhelmed or intimidated by product features and selections. Meeting this challenge will, in large part, determine which retailers and manufacturers will achieve the greatest success in the years ahead,"​ said Grant.

Related topics: Market Trends, Skin Care

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