More women today perceive their skin as sensitive compared to two years ago (48% among facial skin care users in 2017 versus 44% in 2015), and at the same time there has been a significant uptick in the use of products that are free from ingredients considered harmful. Among facial skin care users, 50% typically use skin care products that are hypoallergenic/ ormulated for sensitive skin and fragrance free (compared to 47% in 2015); 48% usually look for products that are made from natural/organic ingredients (43% in 2015); and 40% usually buy products that are free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates and/or gluten (33% in 2015).
Coinciding with these findings, NPD’s retail point-of-sale data shows that prestige skin care brands with an environmental focus that promote wellness or natural ingredients have grown their sales by 13% in the 12 months ending July 2017, outpacing the overall market which grew by 5% during this time. These brands currently account for $1.4 billion, or close to one-quarter of total skin care sales, according to NPD.
“Current trends across industries, from the food we eat to the clothing we wear, have been geared towards natural and safe ingredients; the same holds true when it comes to consumers’ purchase criteria for skin care,” said Larissa Jensen, executive director and beauty industry analyst, The NPD Group. “Consumers today are expecting transparency and full disclosure, and it is critical for brands to clearly state their position on issues such as ingredient usage and product testing.”
At the same time that women have become increasingly selective of their products, their willingness to expand their regimen has grown. Twice daily usage of facial cleansers, lip products and moisturizers, staples for women as they are the most commonly used facial skin care products, has increased since 2015. In addition, more women today, or over one-fifth, are using four or more facial skin care products in a typical day. This likely ties into the increased use of certain complimentary products, notably face masks. Thirty percent of women today are using facial masks, and these are also more likely to be impulse purchases than other product types. This trend is in line with the 37% increase in face mask sales sold at prestige, which has made it the fastest-growing segment in the skin care market, according to NPD.
“The fact that consumers are open to expanding their skin care routine presents an opportunity for brands to look beyond the basic regimen of a cleanser and moisturizer. By adding supplementary products such as masks or other treatments, consumers can engage and experiment with a brand in new ways, which generates more excitement, translating to more sales, for the skin care category,” said Jensen.