Graceful aging makes a big mark on consumer launches

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

With 2005 proving to be a record year for consumer launches of all
sorts, industry experts say that products claiming to counteract
signs of ageing in a gentle and believable manner will continue to
lead the way in 2006 as the drive for youthful looks marches
relentlessly on.

With more than 156,000 new products hitting store shelves in 2006 equating to one launch every three minutes across the world, the latest report from the Mintel Global New Products Database​ (GNPD) indicates that innovation is likely to continue as a key driving force in 2006 throughout all categories, age-defying treatments look likely to lead the way.

With the food and beverage industry proving to be the most active category, cosmetics and fragrance came a close second, as consumers continued to look for increasingly diverse products addressing very specific requirements.

"Globally we have seen a significant rise in a variety of products,"​ said Lynn Dornblaser, director of Mintel Custom Solutions. "Consumers are looking for more products that address their individual needs, and this is resulting in more product offerings. There is a particular focus on catering to the aging consumer, specifically in the non-foods product categories."

On the non-food product front, Mintel said that more than 68,000 new products were launched internationally with cosmetics, skincare and hair care leading the way, although overall the category launches remained relatively level to the previous year.

The figures also revealed that in the US alone more than 13,000 non-food products were launched, with cosmetics and skincare innovations driving the numbers.

Key to the growing number of anti-aging cosmetic products on the marketing is the aging global population, which is creating a huge market for age-related products that continues to be tapped into.

Companies worldwide are racing to develop new anti-aging skincare technologies, in the rush to meet consumers needs. One significant step is proving to be the expansion of formulations that include nanotechnology, which is being used to increase the efficacy of of a range of anti-aging products.

Skin care launches featuring this technology have tended to be most prevalent in Asia, where attitudes to the latest science tend to be more open. Recent launches to include the technology in Japan, the leading Asian market, have included, Germatika Ageless Cream and a moisturizing liquid from Ishizawa.

Microdermabrasion has also proved to be a big new sub-category, with Neutrogena and Oil of Olay both recently launching home microdermabrasion systems in the US, positioned as skin renewing products.

As well as wrinkles, tiredness is also beginning to surface as a new skin 'issue', as Dornblaser points out, "Some new products are focusing on battling tiredness, a key trait that can actually accelerate the skin aging process. Products such as L'Oreal Europe's Infallible foundation are claiming to resist against the signs of tiredness, which can be felt at any age. It presents more preventive versus reactive options for consumers."

The emergence of this category falls in line with consumers' desires to buy customized skin care products, reflecting a far more discerning and sophisticated consumer. Mintel points to the Mademoiselle Bigoudi skincare products in France as being a prime example of this.

It targets consumers who want personalized treatments, with face creams that can be customized by skin type or even specific protection, such as a Cigarette Smoke Protection formula.

With the trend towards more targeted skin care and cosmetic products still driving growth, it seems that 2006 is likely to be another year of strong activity on the launch front, with any number of new and ever-ingenious sub-categories likely to evolve.

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