Cosmetics slowly recovering from recession

Sales of color cosmetics lost some of its shimmer during the recession as beauty mavens reduced purchase cycles, traded down to value brands and cut back on experimenting with new products. However, consumers are returning to the category, which is likely to spell strong sales for spring and beyond.


According to a U.S. Color Cosmetics report by market research firm Mintel, sales of cosmetics are forecast to increase 22% between 2012 and 2017 to reach an estimated $10.3 billion as manufacturers, retailers and marketers highlight the best performing product lines and further develop products that resonate with consumers, such as multifunctional cosmetics and those geared toward ethnic women.


While young women will continue to be at the core of the cosmetics market, Mintel suggested that cosmetic minimalists, such as older women, can play an active role in the segment. 


“Manufacturers should consider the factors that older women are more likely to consider important when choosing cosmetics — namely moisturizing, anti-aging and whitening/brightening — when creating product formulations, and employ more comprehensive targeting efforts to attract older female consumers for these types of products,” Mintel stated.


Furthermore, a report released earlier this year by the NPD Group found that more than 8-in-10 (86%) said that they use makeup products with skin care benefits. In addition, 61% of the women surveyed said they use makeup products with benefits that are similar to the ones contained in their skin care products. 


Regardless of age, moisturizing and SPF protection are the two most sought after benefits in all makeup products, according to NPD. Older women are more likely to seek products that pack moisturizing and anti-aging benefits, while younger women prefer products that help control oil and acne.


Where are consumers shopping for beauty? According to Mintel’s data, many are heading to the drug stores. Drug stores are the leading single retail type for the market, capturing a 20.4% share of the market in 2012. Respondents to Mintel’s survey reported buying nearly all varieties of color cosmetics most often at drug stores, closely followed by Walmart and mass merchandisers.