U.S. sales in the cosmetics and toiletries market grew only by 0.3% in 2008, the lowest since 1991, according to the latest study completed by Kline & Company. The new data, available in Cosmetics & Toiletries USA 2008, indicates that sales have reached a total of $35.6 billion at the manufacturers' level, but consumer concerns about the recession may ensure that these levels do not rise higher during 2009–10.
Consumers are showing a preference for competitively priced products from the mass and direct trade classes. Therefore, premium products sales are being impacted heavily by these negative market conditions. In fact, salon, specialty and luxury trade classes all demonstrated negative growth, whereas mass and direct trade classes turned out to be the fastest-growing segments.
"The new frugal mindset imposed by the recession has altered spending and product consumption habits, some of which will probably continue into the foreseeable future," notes Nancy Mills, industry manager, consumer products practice, Kline & Company. "Many people have traded down on certain products, and as they get accustomed to buying some lower-priced or private-label products and shop more in the lower-priced channels, they might well continue with those habits after the tough times have subsided. To be successful, companies will likely continue to infuse the mass segment with more sophisticated products to compete with luxury products."
Skin care, the largest product class, was also the second-fastest growing category during 2008, spurred by the sun care category. Although consumers have curtailed spending, they are not ignoring innovative and sophisticated new products. Marketers propel growth with product development, albeit the rate of new launches slows down in 2008. Some brands that did very well in the previous years such as Bare Escentuals, had slower growth in 2008, whereas, some mass brands such as Garnier skin care and Neutrogena sun care showed very strong growth. Some luxury brands did buck the trend with great results, notably La Prairie.
Kline projects a moderate growth in the next five years. Years 2009–10 will be sluggish, but the following three years are expected to witness growth. This growth will be affected negatively by stricter legislation on claims and ingredients and the new consumer mindset of cautiousness on spending. However, it will be impacted positively by product innovations and new alliances and mergers between companies.