What drives a woman to select one lipstick over another? There are many factors that propel sales, including innovation, newness and originality, but it's the high level of consumer engagement that sets beauty apart. As a result, it is important to know your consumer and what she wants in beauty products. At an HBA Global Expo educational seminar last month, Larissa Jensen, director, beauty industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc., explored current trends happening across the skin care market, with a focus on shopper behavior and how the consumer approaches each category.
Jensen noted that beauty product sales were driven by skin care. Trends included novel anti-aging treatments, such as lip care; BB creams, which remained all the rage and was joined by CC and even DD creams; the cultural force impact of ethnic needs was seen in 2012 and the growing men’s grooming segment also made a difference.
“Two-thirds of prestige shoppers buy products that make them feel confident,” noted Jensen. “Since 2009, skin care has brought in more dollars in the prestige marketplace than any other category. Prestige shoppers have a greater engagement in these products.”
According to NPD data, dollar sales of skin care products rose 14% in fine department stores last year. Sales in prestige department stores rose 10%, well ahead of the 2% gain in mass. However, direct to consumer sales surged 18% in 2012.
Aging, especially aging caused by UV deamage, is a leading skin care concern of US consumers, who tried myriad products including lesser-known SKUs such as lip treatments. But, what does anti-aging mean to the consumer? According to Jensen, skin care claims can make or break a sale. For example, for a younger shopper, “brightening” is a key term; for someone more mature, “firming” is important.
“Ultimately, Gen Y is a key transitional beauty age for skin care, as these shoppers are the “low hanging fruit,” noted Jensen.
Learning the As, Bs and Cs
The “Alphabet” craze is still going strong in the skin care segment; according to NPD, sales of BB creams surged 500% in 2012.
“They took off like a rocket,” said Jensen, adding that BB creams appeal to consumers of all ages. The market is flooded with an array of brands—from designer, where “image is everything” to artist brands with priming benefits to clinical brands that target particular conditions.
What are BB creams replacing? Facial moisturizers, foundations, serums and SPF products, to name a few. And then there are CC creams, marketed as a corrective product as opposed to a preventative product. But, are these products going by way of the celebrity fragrance craze? How much is too much? According to Jensen, BB and CC are now straying from their original intent, as seen in hair crèmes and powder foundations. Meanwhile, a DD cream from Julep debuted last month, which promises to moisturize, prime, perfect and protect skin.
Different Ethnicities, Different Needs
The ethnic skin care market is fueled by unique demands. For example, evening skin tones and brightening SKUs appeal to those trying to fade dark spots, noted Jensen. Ingredients traditionally considered for hair care treatments, such as argan and jojoba oils, are finding their way into skin care treatments. And the skin care segment is seeing benefits similar to specialized salon hair care products, where issues such as fragile, dull and weak tresses have transformed into the hottest hair trends. For example, oil is a big buzzword in both skin and hair care, with innovations in argan and jojoba ingredients.
Traditionally, skin care is functional; but brands like Clarisonic show skin care can be fun with its colorful packaging, added Jensen in her presentation. In fact, NPD saw that 34% of prestige shoppers cited “fun” as a motivator to purchase products.
Another buzzword is bold nail art, as it’s easy to express yourself with colorful digits at work. New developments such as Liquid Sand (OPI), velvet nails and gel nails were big this year. There are now even “mani-cams” at award shows.
Men’s grooming also moved “front and center” in 2012, as seen with launches from Birchbox Men and the new Art of Shaving at malls.
Anti-aging is important to guys too, it seems.
If 2013 is anything like 2012, it will surely be an even more colorful year in the beauty business, concluded Jensen.