Ethnic consumers go mass market

By Louise Prance

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cosmetics

Ethnic-specific cosmetic products have seen a 19 per cent sales
gain over 2001 figures, with the niche market said to be at nearly
$1.9 bn. However, the ethnic consumer looks to be increasing their
spending on general market cosmetics, therefore encouraging
mass-market companies to incorporate ethnic ranges within their
product lines.

Market research from Packaged Facts shows that despite double-digit growth between 2001 and 2006 in ethnic-specific products, the ethnic consumer is also purchasing general market products with sales being $6.5 bn, 3.5 times larger than ethnic specific.

Despite the increase in sales figures in the ethnic cosmetic market, ethnics' specific grooming needs and the 'fading novelty' factor all amount to making it a difficult market to target. The ethnic consumer is now more willing to allow for the merging of ethnic specific products and 'non-ethnic-specific splurge items'.

'Ethnic consumers are not just choosing 'ethnic' or not. They're also looking at high-end versus value, chemical versus organic, and the latest fad versus 'urban style'​ said Don Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts.

A report published earlier this year by market researchers, Euromonitor stated that: "Major cosmetics and toiletries manufacturers are watching these [ethnic hair care, skin care and color cosmetic] categories closely because they consider them major potential areas for growth."

Tapping into a growing market, a number of the leading players, including the likes of Avon, P&G and L'Oreal, are all developing both research and development capabilities and adapting their business portfolios in an effort to tap in to the increased demand.

Don Montuori sees this approach as a way for mass retailers to target this fast-growing market stating: 'Marketers should find that a more holistic approach to the product offerings as well as more diverse retail promotional efforts will fare well with this rapidly growing demographic'.

The overall spend of the ethnic consumer looks set to top $8.4 bn by the end of 2006, this is despite African-Americans only constituting around 12 per cent of the nation's population as they are reported to spend twice as much on hair and skin care as the average American.

The US Hispanic population also continues to fuel growth as this community is continuing to grow in both wealth and social mobility.

The ethnic grooming market is vast, with numerous brands targeting the niche hair, skin and color cosmetics industry.

Wild Faerie Essentials have introduced a complete line of loose minerals-based color cosmetic and skin care products aimed at the ethnic consumer, whilst larger brand, Proctor and Gamble announced the launch of its Cover Girl Queen Collection, a beauty line aimed at non-Caucasian women.

Meanwhile internationally acclaimed hair stylist Barbara C. George has today announced her collaboration with New York's Hair and Beyond salon, continuing to specialize in ethnic hair care, relaxers and chemical processes.

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