Cleansers, moisturizers take the lead

Anti-aging products, once the darling of the facial skin care category, have experienced a slowdown in growth since the recession — due, in part, to an influx of new products and likely some cannibalization from such multitasking products as BB creams. Meanwhile, skin care staples like facial moisturizers and cleansers have moved into the lead. And while the overall facial skin care category is projected to see little growth in 2013, industry sources suggest that a turnaround is on the horizon.

(For the full category review, including sales data, click here.)

“The facial skin care category has seen modest growth over the past several years, though shifts in segment performance suggest underlying changes in both consumer behaviors and product innovations,” stated research firm Mintel in its May 2013 report on U.S. facial skin care.

Anti-aging — which is the largest segment within facial skin care, holding nearly 40% of market share — experienced a 2.2% decline between 2010 and 2012. Mintel suggested that an influx of new product launches over the past five years and the rise in color cosmetics making anti-aging claims contributed to the decline.

There’s no doubt that the anti-aging segment has experienced a flood of new product launches in recent years, especially as beauty giants snap up professional brands to add to their portfolios. For example, L’Oréal has acquired Pacific Bioscience Labs, the maker of the Clarisonic line of skin care devices, and at press time, it was announced that L’Oréal had purchased Mumbai-based Cheryl’s Cosmeceuticals to broaden its professional products division.

Facial cleansers and moisturizers, on the other hand, enjoyed a bit of a rebound as both segments saw a roughly 10% boost in sales between 2010 and 2012, according to Mintel.

Meanwhile, acne treatments saw minimal gains of 1.5% during that time, and fade/bleach, which is the smallest segment within the category, experienced a 6% drop in sales between 2010 and 2012.

Facial cleansers and facial moisturizers, which collectively account for 41% of the category sales, are likely benefiting not only from improving economic conditions and growth in new segments like men’s facial skin care, but also from consumers’ most cited reason for using facial skin care — cleansing and treating dry skin.

Looking ahead, Mintel predicted that the facial skin care category will enjoy a turnaround beginning in 2014, with sales forecast to reach more than $7 billion by 2017.

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