Using data from Neilson, Bernstein Research said in an investor note today that the US cosmetics and toiletries market contracted 2.3 percent in the four weeks leading up to 13 June.
The one exception to the downward trend in household and personal care sales was disinfectants, which gained 17.9 percent on last year. Bernstein Research attributed this jump in sales to the swine flu scare.
Meanwhile, other major categories in the personal care sector came under fire. Men’s toiletries sales were down 20 percent and fragrance sales dropped 8.1 percent.
The report also covered the sales performance of four leading European personal care firms in the US: Beiersdorf, Henkel, L’Oreal, and Reckitt Benckiser.
L’Oreal continued to struggle in the last month with sales falling 3.1 percent while Beiersdorf led the group with 5.6 percent growth. Poor hair care sales held L’Oreal back, while the ‘soap & bath’ category helped drive Beiersdorf sales figures upwards.
One of the strongest performers lay outside the circle of big cosmetics names. Bernstein Research said sales of private label cosmetics and toiletries grew 7.5 percent. Nevertheless, Bernstein Research analyst Andrew Wood said this was the slowest growth since February 2008.
The report on the US market comes a few days after Bernstein Research published its monthly report on the European market.
Sales growth in Europe is also flat but still stronger than in the US, slipping 0.5 percent on last year for the four weeks to 24 May.
Of particular concern in Europe was the weakness of sun care sales, which fell 30.4 percent on last year.