Ethnic Beauty Marketers Breaking Boundaries


The multicultural beauty products market continues to outpace the growth of the overall market for cosmetics and toiletries, posting a 3.7% increase in 2014, reports Kline & Company in its soon-to-be-published Multicultural Beauty and Grooming Products: U.S. Market Analysis and Opportunities.

Rapidly growing ethnic populations have given way to intensified competition, with multicultural beauty marketers breaking boundaries between general and multicultural beauty. According to Kline, on one end, there are brands such as Carol’s Daughter that are positioning away from being an exclusive ethnic brand to now also target a broader audience, regardless of ethnicity. This holds particularly true in the natural personal care segment, where popular ethnic brand Shea Moisture, as an example, is now rebranding to become suitable for all consumers.

“This widening approach helps move multicultural brands beyond the ethnic section of the beauty aisle to sit side-by-side nationally advertised brands,” says Donna Barson, senior associate at Kline’s Consumer Products practice. “However, this audience expansion needs to be done without alienating long-time consumers who might feel deserted if they feel like their brand no longer speaks exclusively to them.”

Concurrently, mainstream brands continue to develop tactics to capture a growing percentage of the ethnic personal care market. While mainstream brands like Revlon, Lancôme and Cover Girl have long reached ethnic consumers via the creative use of spokesmodels and targeted advertising, the approach for many brands has become even more savvy and genuine. Some brands, including Estée Lauder and Shiseido, use beauty advisors who speak the language of the local ethnic community (whether it is Mandarin, Vietnamese or Spanish, as examples) to create a greater connection with these consumers. Some also launch products targeting certain ethnic groups in the United States that are simultaneously released in that group’s country of origin.

Beyond the movement of mainstream companies into the multicultural space opening possibilities of more M&A in the coming years, it will also be beneficial for consumers as they will be provided with a wider array of products targeting their needs. Smaller multicultural companies will also need to innovate in order to gain sales and create a niche for themselves or position themselves for a potential acquisition. In addition, the competition coming from the general market is also blurring the lines and challenging multicultural marketers.

During the forecast period through 2019, the ethnic beauty market will continue to face intensed competition from general cosmetic and toiletry brands, and the fine line between mainstream and multicultural markets will continue to blur. However, competition will give an incentive for a surge of innovative, quality products entering the market.

This content is adapted from an article on

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