Eye-catching cosmetics gain momentum, Mintel reports

CHICAGO The eyes have it! That's what new Mintel research indicated, as eye makeup sales have experienced strong double-digit growth since 2004, compared with the overall color cosmetics market.

Since 2004, eye makeup sales have increased 38%, compared with an 11% increase in the overall color cosmetics market, according to Mintel research.

Mascara is one of the fastest-growing segments in color cosmetics, as 65% of respondents reported using it. Eye shadow and eye liner aren't far behind -- 63% of women surveyed said they use shadow and 62% use liner. Brow pencils are somewhat less popular, but still enjoy solid market penetration, with 38% of women reporting usage.

"The focus is now on more dramatic eyes," stated Kat Fay, senior beauty analyst at Mintel. "Mascara products are offering everything from serums, to invigorate your natural lashes, to iridescent particles that reflect light to bring out a woman's natural eye color. Retailers' offerings seem to be working as women report using mascara almost five times a week."

While eye makeup lead the pack in sales, other segments of the market still were viable. Lipstick and lip gloss were the most popular color cosmetic products, with 76% of survey respondents. Some 22% use a lip pencil, 9% use a lip stain and 7% use a compact lip color. Women reported using lipstick and lip gloss six times a week, suggesting that these products are a daily staple.

"Incidence of lipstick or lip gloss usage increases with age," added Fay. "As women get older, lip color is a relatively easy way to brighten up the face without having to put on a face full of makeup."

While 4-out-of-5 women reported using makeup, 31% stated that their makeup buying behavior hasn't changed as a result of the economy. Fay suggested retailers highlight innovative ingredients in their products or utilize environmentally friendly packaging to attract consumers.

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