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The Ascent of Healthy Aging

By: Carrie Lennard
Posted: October 27, 2010, from the November 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Skin care is by far the most important category in the global beauty and personal care industry, accounting for 23% of total sales in 2009. Within this category, anti-aging products is the star performer. Although growth slipped slightly to 7% in 2009 from 9% in 2008, it still far outperformed the overall global skin care category—3% growth—as well as the global beauty and personal care industry—4% growth.

The success of anti-aging skin care is strongly linked to the continued aging of the world’s population. According to Euromonitor International data, the number of people between 60–64 increased by 5% in 2009, up from 1% in 2005. These baby boomers, who are often retired and own their own homes, were far less affected by the global economic downturn than their younger counterparts, and remained reluctant to trade down from higher-priced products that promise to fight off the effects of aging.

In addition to boomers who are increasingly looking to remain active and attractive in their 50s and 60s, women in their early 20s are looking to eliminate the premature signs of aging. As a result, demand for anti-aging products has risen dramatically, and product development in the category has become increasingly segmented in order to cater to the skin-type needs of different age groups.

Premium anti-aging

Despite some people downgrading to less expensive products during the recession, premium skin care is primed to see the biggest increase in value size of any premium segment, with $2.6 billion set to be added during 2009–2014, equating to 40% of absolute growth in the entire premium beauty industry. This performance will be driven by strong demand for premium anti-aging products in Asia, especially China. Even in Western markets, such as the United States, sales of high-end anti-aging products have remained comparatively buoyant as consumers have evidently attached greater importance to fighting the aging process than to other areas of beauty and personal care, and the perception of a link between price and efficacy remains strong for many consumers. Despite declines in many other areas of skin care, recession-hit France saw 3% value growth in premium anti-aging skin care in 2009, up from 1% in 2008.

Anti-aging growth in mature markets

The U.S. skin care category is expected to swell by $264 million during 2009–2014, largely driven by anti-aging products. Although cleansers, acne treatments, and body and facial moisturizers have reached maturity and are expected to see sales growth slow or even decline, the anti-aging category shows no signs of slowing down. Demand for anti-aging products will be driven by the aging U.S. population, with the over-50 group set to grow by just more than 10 million during 2009–2014.