Nails, Eyes, Scents Bolstering Beauty U.S. Sales


PARSIPPANY, N.J.—New trends in nail care, dramatic eye looks and the appeal of limited-edition scents significantly bolstered sales in the 2011 U.S. personal care market, according to the "Cosmetics & Toiletries USA" report from Kline & Co. Sales exceeded $38 billion at the manufacturers’ level, surpassing pre-recession levels and representing robust growth of 4.2 percent.

Makeup sales comfortably exceeded the industry average growth rate, boosted by an almost 30-percent growth of the nail polishes subcategory in 2011, caused partly by the emergence of new trends, including bold colors and special effects that attracted women of all demographics. The category was additionally augmented by innovation in application techniques, which could be seen in products such as Sally Hansen Salon Effects and Nail Inc.’s Magnetic Polish.

Eye makeup, supported by the season’s popular smoky-eye look, saw a strong increase in 2011. Eye shadow, eye liner, and mascara, all used to complete the dramatic eye look, contributed to the growth seen in all trade classes.

After several years of declining sales, fragrances for women experienced high growth in 2011, as more consumers turned to fragrances as an affordable indulgence. The luxury trade class in particular experienced above-average growth of more than 10 percent, where niche fragrances were a new trend in 2011. Limited distribution scents from brands such as Bond No. 9, Creed and By Kilian gained high visibility during the period. Conversely, celebrity scents saw substantial declines.

Demographics are trending, too. According to Kline's consumer research a higher percentage of Hispanics use perfume or cologne regularly—56 percent of all Hispanics—as compared to 32 percent of the non-Hispanic population. Furthermore, about half of African Americans use perfumes or colognes regularly, as compared to one-third of Caucasians and Asians in the United States.

The tenacious skin care product class, dominated by facial treatments, remains the largest product class. Men’s skin care became more popular, seeing the best growth in several years and now offering expanded product lines exploring new applications by creating solutions for men, such as concealers, products free of parabens, formaldehydes, dyes and added fragrances.

The cosmetics and toiletries market continued its upward trend due to an especially strong performance in the luxury class, which saw nearly double-digit growth. Analysis also reveals all trade classes posted gains in 2011.

“The comparatively low growth in the professional class correlates with the greater trend we’re observing with consumers’ relatively moderate expenditure on professional services," explained Nancy Mills, Kline’s consumer practice industry manager. “And yet, driven by ‘frugal-fatigue’ and a rising financial confidence, consumers are compensating by purchasing premium products as affordable luxuries driving sales in the luxury and mass trade classes."

Looking ahead, Kline projects skin care and makeup to maintain exceptionally high growth over the next five years. Additionally, Mills expects the dominating drivers in personal care to be multi-functional products that deliver promised results, a gradual replacement of harsh synthetic chemicals with more natural-derived products, and an adoption of a more overt environmentally responsible profile.