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Niche Outpaces Mass in Australia

Posted: July 21, 2005

From the GCI archives.

Valued at $3.6 billion (US$2.7 billion) in 2004, the Australian cosmetics and toiletries market ranks sixteenth largest globally. Overall sales grew 3.1% compared with 2004; comfortably in line with the country’s healthy growth pattern, though just below average global growth. Though the market is in good shape, sales increases over the last two years have been more modest as the market has felt the impact of the slight slowdown in the Australian economy, which has led to consumers curtailing personal consumption and buying cosmetics and toiletries that offered value for money above all. That said, sales remain buoyed by new product developments and stronger demand for high-end mass products priced in the mid-range level.

Niche Sectors are Most Vibrant …
Reflective of the pattern of global cosmetics and toiletries sales, the fastest-moving products sectors in the Australian market are the smallest ones, those with still low penetration. Depilatories remains the most dynamic sector, achieving current value growth of almost 6% in 2004, boosted by stronger demand for hair removers and women’s razors. Manufacturers have been working hard to break women’s habits of borrowing their partner’s shaving device by entertaining storewide promotions to effectively educate their target market and get them used to shopping for their own shaving razors and blades. Sales of men’s grooming products contribute an ever-growing slice to the pie—rising almost 5% last year to reach A$359 million, with growth coming especially from non-traditional products such as skin care, hair care and deodorants, which are appealing mostly to younger health conscious men. As awareness of the products and interest in appearance continues to rise amongst this demographic, industry observers point to the substantial future sales opportunities that exist, particularly in these three product areas with their low market penetration.

…But Mature Sectors Flourish Too
Hair care represented the largest sector in the Australian cosmetics and toiletries market last year, and though mature, it still managed impressive growth of 4%. Advancements in technology have enabled manufacturers to develop increasingly reliable and vibrant colorants, whose formulations have shifted from mostly chemical ingredients to the inclusion of more natural ingredients from flowers, fruits and herbs, perceived to be less damaging to the hair. Consequently colorants were the most dynamic area of hair care last year, but their growth also led to the development of higher priced, more specialty color care shampoos and conditioners.

Firm Growth for Skin Care
The fourth most dynamic sector last year was skin care. The A$453 million skin care market was bolstered by both increased penetration and higher spend from existing consumers, and above all, continued media focus on maintaining a youthful appearance. Anti-aging has without a doubt become the primary concern of Australian consumers in the selection of both day and night skin care products. A noticeable evolution of this trend is that the desire to stay young has now penetrated through all age categories of the skin care market. From the teenagers whose constant exposure to fashion magazines and television series has driven awareness of the need to look good, to the middle-age group trying to preserve fading youth, and to the aged population who would like to retrieve something of their twentysomething years, the Australian consumers are keeping the market strong.