NPD Group Looks Inside the Nail Care Boom

According to global information provider The NPD Group’s March 2013 Nail Care and Polish Consumer Report, more than half of women, age 18+, have purchased nail products for at-home use or professional nail services in the past year.

“The appeal, and power of the nail category is both the permission to play, and the accessibility in price,” said Karen Grant, vice president and global industry analyst, The NPD Group. “Even for those on a tight budget, nail products offer a relatively guilt free treat, with the power to change their options.”

According to The NPD Group, the top five nail polish brands applied at home are Sally Hansen, OPI, Revlon, Wet N’ Wild and Cover Girl, while the top five nail polish brands applied at a salon are OPI, China Glaze, Essie, Spa Ritual and LeChat.

Color is the main factor influencing consumer purchases, with more than 60% of nail product/service buyers reporting that as long as they get the color they want, they do not pay attention to the brand. In general, the preference goes to brighter and neutral/natural shades, with pink/mauve, clear, and red coming out as the top color choices. With 6 in 10 women indicating that they want to try new nail care products, at-home experimentation is being expressed through nail polishes that have special effects, such as glitter, crackle, and shimmer.

”Nail care is an important part of today’s beauty ritual, but some preferences differ between the at-home crowd and the salon-goers. As women shift between these nail care options, it will be interesting to see if their preferences change as well,” said Grant.

In the past year, women spent an average of $204 for salon services, which is almost six times more than what they spent on at-home products. Women age 55 and over spent the most on professional nail services in the past year.

Professional nail service purchasers are predominantly sticking with the basics, more likely to experiment with gel polish than things like nail art (24% vs. 12% respectively). In fact, women are about three times more likely to purchase a professional gel manicure than they are to buy gel polish for use at home.

Seventy percent of women do not agree with the idea that nail care products offered in salons are better than at-home nail products. “So, why do women continue to go to salons? They are winning on look and luxury—it’s the feeling of being pampered, and the end result that attracts today’s nail care consumer, feeling their nails look better, or ‘more polished’, and last longer,” said Grant.

For those that have opted for either more frequent at-home nail care, or less frequent salon visits, financial reasons, including the desire to save money, were the most likely cited factor. “This dynamic, and do-it-yourself trend, helps position the nail care category quite well to continue growing even in times of economic uncertainty,” added Grant.

“Whether the woman opts to do it herself or go the salon route, nail care has an option to appeal to every age of woman. Getting a pulse check on the nail consumer is so very important right now. At this moment in time, nail is still a blue sky-white canvas opportunity. We are just scratching the surface,” ended Grant.

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