The market research firm said the global colouur cosmetics industry is currently worth $35.7bn but has struggled in recent years with sales growth between 2001 and 2006 lagging behind the beauty market average. However, Euromonitor is optimistic about the future, predicting solid annual growth of around 3 percent for 2006-2011. Within the color cosmetics category, eye make-up is expected to lead the way with growth of almost 4 percent a year while lip products is considered to be the least promising area. Euromonitor said the Asia-Pacific countries are likely to follow Eastern Europe and Latin America in delivering high rates of growth. China's colour cosmetics market is forecast to expand by almost $600m between 2006 and 2011 while India is expected to grow the most in percentage terms. Growth is also expected in the mature markets with annual growth for Western Europe forecast to be around 2 percent. The mature markets are being driven by the spread of the naturals trend, which has moved from skin and body care products into colour cosmetics. Euromonitor said mineral make-up is spearheading the movement because it provides natural sunscreen, long-lasting coverage and is suitable for use on sensitive skin. Bare Escentuals was described as a pioneer in bringing mineral make-up to the market although the big name brands and private labels have now followed suit. However, Euromonitor said retailers are increasingly willing to stock colour cosmetics from small companies that are often producing innovative products that tempt consumers away from the big brands. Another developing trend in the colour cosmetics market is convenience. Fast and easy application is a priority for the modern make-up user and brushes for nail products and mascara are being redesigned with this in mind. Convenience is also behind the emergence of sampling and single-use packs in colour cosmetics that allow consumers to test out different colors without having to spend a fortune. Reaching out to new consumers is another important focus area for companies in the colour cosmetics market, said Euromonitor. In the US, the number of Hispanics, African-Americans and Asians is growing at twice the rate of the overall population making ethnic minorities a priority for marketing professionals. Euromonitor also pointed out that male make-up is an emerging corner of the market after the clothing chain H&M launched a mascara aimed at men. However, the market research firm does not expect make-up for men to blossom into the mainstream and sees more promise in products that are aimed at certain age groups such as teens.