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Color’s Emerging Strategy Urges Trade Up

By: Briony Davies, Euromonitor International
Posted: October 3, 2008, from the May 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Benefits from skin care are incorporated in this sector, especially in developing markets, resulting in the emergence of lip plump products that seem set to become a product line essential. Many manufacturers have targeted aging baby boomers with their lip plump launches, touting product ability to create younger-looking lips. However, appeal of plumper lips is not just constrained to consumer fighting the signs of aging. Current fashion trends for fuller lips means that the appeal of lip plumpers extends to younger consumers trying to recreate the pout of celebrities. Lip plump products are particularly popular in glosses, although manufacturers could introduce the category into lipsticks to swell future growth projections.

Tap into Trends

Leading industry players have been made aware of key sectors and markets to tap into, however to be unaware of prevailing trends in the driving markets of the United States, the UK, France and Japan could result in disaster. The rising disposable incomes of ’tweens and teens are creating distinct segments that manufacturers are eager to exploit—the “age compression” phenomenon means that this generation favors electronic goods and color cosmetics over toys. L’Oréal’s launch of Puremakeup indicates the company’s desire to maximize the potential of this consumer group. The influence of celebrities, not restricted to this demographic, has also been exploited by Estée Lauder’s Flirt. The company signed tennis ace Serena Williams to become the latest celebrity to work on the range when she takes over the baton from actress Mila Kunis, last season’s guest creator. This is expected to help maintain strong sales for the brand through fiscal 2006, and is likely to be a strategy employed by others.

Dual Challenges Arise

The expansion of color cosmetic lines to include specific products for ethnic skin tones has been apparent over the past year. Prescriptives now offers Colorprint to suit ethnic skin tones, and MAC uses Missy Elliot, Mary J Blige and Little Kim to promote its products. In the United States, Hispanics, African-Americans and Asians accounted for around one third of the population. This is projected to increase by more than 13% to 95.6 million by 2010, while the overall U.S. population is expected to grow by just over 5% during the same period. Consequently, industry players are expecting retail sales of ethnic-specific color cosmetics to rise. However, manufacturers will need a focused distribution and advertising approach to make the greatest impact among ethnic consumers in order to overcome unique challenges that the category presents.

Private label ranges also are set to challenge color cosmetic makers’ ability to grow the market further—especially in the UK and Germany where consumers are becoming less concerned about brands and choosing quality goods at low prices. In the UK alone, three private label ranges have been launched in the last year. Manufacturers need to think about how they are going to combat the effect of low prices in this sector.