Survey highlights specialty brands catching up on the top US color cosmetics players

By Simon Pitman contact

- Last updated on GMT

Survey highlights specialty brands catching up on the top US color cosmetics players
A new survey highlights that mainstream color cosmetics players continue to dominate the category in the US, while revealing the specialty brands that are making the most gains.

The study was carried out by Toluna on behalf of market research company TABS, and included 1,000 respondents demographically and geographically dispersed all over the United States to determine their spending patterns on face, eye, lip, nail and gift cosmetic sets.

The top four ‘mainstream brands’ – Maybelline, Cover Girl, Revlon and L’Oréal still dominate in the US color cosmetics market with respect to penetration and awareness, but the TABS data suggests that newer specialty brands are making big inroads.

MAC and Urban Decay make biggest gains

Out of 19 cosmetics products that were surveyed, the results showed that only six brands increased their market share by 3% or more, which included MAC and Urban Decay, which won out at the expense of super brands such as Estee Lauder and Clinique.

Notably it was gift sets – epitomized by Birchbox, eye and lip products that saw in increase in market penetration of 30% compared to the previous year.

“The flat trends in total purchase occasions are consistent with the overall malaise in our industry,”​ explained Kurt Jetta, CEO and founder of the TABS Group. 

“What is quite meaningful is the dramatic shift that heavy category buyers are having towards purchasing more expensive products and their move to other channel options. This shift has delivered strong gains in retail dollars, overall.”

The data collated by the TABS team suggests that the color cosmetics market in the US is currently worth around $13bn and that by far the heaviest product users are millennial women, aged 18 to 34.

Shift from online to specialty stores

In a previous article​ covering the data highlighted by the survey, Cosmetics Design has already highlighted how color cosmetics sales are shifting from online to specialty stores such as Ulta and Sephora.

The survey results highlighted how the millennials are driving this market and also the fact that too much choice means that online purchasing is confusing and does not allow consumers to sample the products personally.

Ulta and Sephora have managed to corner this market by providing the right balance of mainstream color cosmetics brands, combined with newer and more innovative and daring lines from specialty and independent brands.

Dr. Kurt Jetta presented the findings from TABS 2nd Annual Cosmetics Survey during a webinar presentation  that was broadcast on December 9th​.

Related topics: Market Trends, Color Cosmetics

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