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Nail Care Knows No Bounds

By: Nancy Jeffries
Posted: October 13, 2008, from the March 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.

Anyone who says nail and hand care is the exclusive domain of the ladies who lunch will need to take another look at the state of the nail salon industry. Accessibility to salon services has increased as more and more women, and men, have taken their tired, lackluster extremities to the salon for some TLC.

The prestige nail category has undergone significant changes over the past few years, and the rise in popularity of the nail salon manicure has affected the perception and reality of the entire market. “The nail category in prestige has been in double digit declines for more than 10 years due to what I would consider the ease and relatively low cost of getting your nails done at the salon,” says Karen Grant of the NPD Group, a market information company. “If you consider a simple manicure in the average nail salon costs about $6 or a combination manicure/pedicure costs about $20, then why spend $10 to $20 to buy a polish and do it yourself?”

According to a 2005 Euromonitor report on cosmetics and toiletries in the United States, nail product sales declined by 8% in current value terms in 2004, after experiencing a decline of 3% in 2003. Following a high growth period in the mid-1990s, nail polish sales had started to decline in 1998. While Euromonitor’s forecast predicted a fall of more than 11% to $569 million at constant 2004 prices, sales also would be hurt by the growing number of women who choose to go to a salon for their nail treatment needs rather than purchasing suitable products themselves.

Nail treatment needs are increasingly met by salon services, whether in nail salon-specific venues or all-inclusive resort, destination or day spas. The popularity and accessibility of these services has spawned a new generation of innovative products, technological breakthroughs and value-added accoutrements that account for their popularity.

The Salon Mystique

Salon nail products further reinforce the experience of indulgence, and not necessarily at prohibitive price points. Thus, work-weary hands and less-than-rosy toes are readily rescued at neighborhood salons and spas.