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The Future Bright for Color Cosmetics Despite Economic Gloom

By: Rob Walker, Euromonitor International
Posted: April 2, 2012, from the April 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 3 of 6

True, the U.S. economy recovered in 2010, and as such, there was a boost to discretionary spending. But, consumer confidence, which is a key driver of purchasing habits, remained low. The implication is that something else was at play in driving demand for color cosmetics.

It was a similar story in Western Europe. Retail sales of color cosmetics in the U.K. and Germany, for example, rose by 5% and 6%, respectively, in 2010, despite widespread concerns about job security, rising inflation and consumer debt. And concurrent with trends in the U.S., nail polish was a standout performer, posting retail growth of 7% in Germany and 4% in the U.K.

Product innovation—as examples, to speed up drying and to ease application—was a value-added spur to nail polish, but there was evidence, too, that weaker consumer confidence acted as a boost to at-home DIY pampering, mostly at the expense of more costly, away-from-home salon treatments.

Birth of a New Devil-May-Care Consumption Culture

In 2011, discretionary spending remained weak across the developed markets, with the macroeconomic climate worsening in the EuroZone. There were, however, signs of a more devil-may-care attitude to consumption, for example in the upward growth curve of luxury brands, especially those with affordable price tags.

Generation Y, consumers born between 1977–1994, was a major driver of affordable luxury, fueling upbeat demand for a wide spectrum of “treat yourself” discretionary products from mascara to Mulberry handbags. The propensity of Generation Y to spend rather than save is not as odd as it might seem. It is a measure of how young consumers have started to lose confidence in the financial sanctity of the future and, as a result, prefer to spend today what they might not have tomorrow. It is not a philosophical shift but a desire to make the best out of a bad situation.

Multifunctionality Will Be Core of Product Innovation

Regulations, Stability, Color Aesthetics, and Economics.

Coloring the Cosmetic World: Using Pigments in Decorative Cosmetic Formulations covers the four dimensions to selecting colors for cosmetics. Take note of the chapter on color stability which describes the various colorants you will use in your product and includes a chart listing compatibility of colorants with a number of solvents. Photos rendered in full masstone color!

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