TABS annual color cosmetics report points to decline

By Simon Pitman contact

- Last updated on GMT

TABS annual color cosmetics report points to decline
The results of the 2018 TABS Cosmetics Study points to lower use and consumption patterns, with less buying in specialty and brick and mortar stores. But the natural look could spell opportunities.

In the first of a series of three articles,  we look at the different product types, to see how consumers patterns are panning out across the US for the color cosmetics category.

The report does not make a terribly encouraging read for those engaged in the category, but it also means that those players will need to clue in on vital information in an area of the market that is already hyper-competitive.

Drilling down into the specific types of consumers, the data also reveals that consumption levels tailed off in all categories, particularly for heavy users, but also for lighter users, who all reported that they were less engaged in shopping for color cosmetic products.

Purchasing dropped across all 20 categories

The study has been conducted for the fifth consecutive years, and employed the use of research company Toluna to interview 1,000 women aged between 18 and 75 in October of this year to get insights into the types of products and the frequency of purchases.

The data accounts for 20 products across five principle color cosmetic categories – eye makeup, face makeup, nail polish and treatments, lip makeup and gift sets.

Pointing to challenges ahead for the color cosmetics category, the data collected for all 20 categories suggests that purchasing for all 20 of the product categories that the research tracks, is down.

Heavy users see a significant decline

The data for heavy users - who are generally higher income, ages 18 – 34, Hispanic and non-Hispanic black, and buy more than ten color cosmetics products each year - showed that use dropped significantly, the first fall in the five-year period the data covers.

The data shows a four-year compound annual fall of 6% for heavy users, while light and medium use rose by 4% and 1% respectively. (Please the chart illustrating these figures).

Color Cosmetics heavy use

But perhaps most interesting was the fact that the biggest year-on-year increase was seen in women reporting that they made no color cosmetic purchases at all, tying in with the trend for a more natural and minimalist look.

Although this data looks like a hard pill for color cosmetic brands to swallow, it could also spell opportunity for brands targeting a more natural or minimalist look.

Nail category sees biggest decline

The latest TABS data reveals that, while all 20 product category showed a drop in purchasing, over the past year the types of products people purchased regularly dropped by 19%, while those buying any type of products declined by 14%.

The TABS research team points out that while primary products, like lipstick and mascara, continue to sell well, complementary products such as lip gloss, concealer and artificial nails, showed a more drastic drop.

The drop in complementary products particularly impacted the nail category, reverting the hot trend for nail care seen in the period 2014 to 2015, and suggesting the rush to meet demand led to saturation as consumer interest declined

The research team noted that in the nail category the resulting flood on to the market of new nail care products was not met by consumer interest, and that in fact, consumer buying for nail products was in decline.

Look out for parts two and three in this series, in which we will look at e-commerce vs traditional bricks and mortar purchasing, as well as the declining role social media is now playing in influencing color cosmetic consumers.

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