Kline Reflects on 50 Years of Beauty Market Research Reporting

Celebrating half a century of personal care market insights in the U.S., consulting and research firm Kline & Company is further expanding its comprehensive Cosmetics & Toiletries USA research with an enhanced database yielding even greater flexibility to users. With a granularity extending to consumer insights, an assessment of the ever-growing naturals trend, male grooming segment, and professional segments of skin, hair, nail care, and aesthetics markets, Kline’s five-decade-old vigor remains unabated.

From the first antibacterial soap Dial introduced in the U.S. in the 1940s, through to packaging shifts from glass bottles and jars to plastics and cardboard boxing, from the heavy makeup disco era and surge of women entering the workforce in the 1970s and 1980s, the U.S. cosmetics and toiletries market has continually undergone societal, economic, demographic, and—more than ever—ecological changes. Kline has observed and diligently tracked these for 50 years, expanding its remit as consumers’ expectations have evolved.

Many factors have shaped this market over the last 50 years. Most recently, it was the spillover from the latest economic crisis resulting in weakened consumer confidence and more modest spending habits; however, this helped to spawn many new trends including products with multiple benefits and value packaging, and “professional results at home” as a popular claim.

Additionally, the landscape for retailing and marketing beauty products has changed dramatically over the last decade owing to new technology. Brands, going omni-channel, are utilizing all types of technology from mobile apps and social media to in-store and online tools to engage the consumer. Direct sales—driven by e-commerce—and specialty stores, engendering a fun retail environment with new products and exciting services are now posting the highest growth rates.

To embark on most recent trends, 2012—a year notable for the success of smaller niche personal care brands and an increasingly attractive M&A environment with large companies continuing to emphasize growth agendas—saw resilient growth of 3.4%.

When sales of lipstick and lip gloss—usually a good performing category during hard times—declined in 2009 by 5.3%, the nail polish trend emerged with the category posting double-digit growth due to the return of nail colors in the fashion world, as well as consumers’ shift from nail salons to at-home applications. Fueled by innovation, the nail polishes category is continuing its success, shining with 17.4% growth in 2012.

As part of the multifunctionality trend, SPF is enjoying popularity within many segments. With sun exposure linked to premature aging, skin care and makeup marketers are adding SPF functionality to many products; however, this tendency is cannibalizing sales from the 2011 growth leader—the sun care products category.

While a natural look was promoted in the 1990s, the new millennium saw the new ecologically inspired natural trend emerge with consumers seeking safer and more environmentally friendly products, driving this nascent segment more mainstream. By 2009, natural products were no longer exclusive to the premium market and they continue to proliferate through mainstream channels. Although not immune to the downturn in the global economy, the natural personal care market has recovered quicker than any other segment. More telling is the surge in truly natural product sales, which shot up over 13% in 2012, with natural-inspired products seeing just over 11%.

Beauty products targeting specific demographic groups were successfully initiated in the 1980s, and the trend continues to evolve. Recognizing the increasing importance and specific needs of given demographics, this year Kline extends its U.S. personal care portfolio with the Multicultural Beauty and Grooming Products series of reports.

Kline’s flagship study Cosmetics & Toiletries USA encompasses market size and share data, retail sales, channel breakdowns, trends and forecasts for 26 major product categories and detailed profiles of 30 leading marketers and 150 smaller and up-and-coming players.

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