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Bold Looks and Key Demographic Divergences Ignite the U.S. Personal Care Market

Posted: June 18, 2012

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, which exceeded $38 billion at the manufacturers' level, surpassing pre-recession levels and representing robust growth of 4.2%, according to the recent Cosmetics & Toiletries USA report from global consulting and research firm Kline & Company.

Makeup sales comfortably exceeded the industry average growth rate, boosted by an astonishing near 30% growth of the nail polishes subcategory in 2011. The magnitude of this growth was partly caused 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%, 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.

Looking at the usage of cosmetics and toiletries by specific demographic groups, Kline's consumer research has found that a higher percentage of Hispanics use perfume or cologne regularly, at 56% of all Hispanics, as compared to 32% 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.