Nail polish pulls through recession with flying colors

The recession certainly did not pay many businesses or consumers any favors, but there was one silver lining for the mass market beauty sector: nail polish.

After years of battling declining sales, nail polish did a complete turnaround and actually proved to be a shining star in 2009. Not only did nail color return to the fashion world, but many cash-strapped beauty shoppers also skipped pricey salon visits and instead opted for at-home treatments.

According to research and consulting firm Kline & Co., nail color was the only category to post a double-digit gain, reaching 14.3% growth in 2009. Meanwhile, lipsticks—long touted as the economic indicator—and lip glosses declined by 5.3% in 2009.

Kline’s data found that U.S. sales in the cosmetics and toiletries market declined by 0.8% in 2009—not a detrimental drop considering the economy and the last major recession in 1991, when sales dropped 1.9%.

Helping to fuel sales of nail color was the fact that nail industry marketers responded well to consumer demand and focused on new launches, offering a new range of products to engage the recession-stricken consumer.

For example, Coty Beauty has a big story to share as it relates to its Sally Hansen nail care business.

For 2009, Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Fast Dry nail color garnered $24 million. Applied with the Perfectionist brush that contours to any nail, the color is applied with one stroke per nail and takes 60 seconds to dry. The exclusive Flexiglass Complex gives nails major shine and strength to last.

“The whole lipstick factor became a nail polish factor, and it was an amazing success story. It was about the ease of use, the terrific package and phenomenal execution,” Mary van Praag, SVP of sales for Coty Beauty, told Drug Store News during a meeting at NACDS Annual in April.

The success continues as, year-to-date, it has the No. 1 new beauty product—Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure. Complete Salon Manicure is expected to do more than $30 million in sales this year.

“It is amazing that there is a nail color that is the leading new product, so we have a great story,” Praag said.

Complete Salon Manicure is a manicure in a bottle, performing all five steps of a professional manicure (base coat, growth treatment, strengthener, color and top coat). Furthermore, the patent-pending technology delivers high shine over the course of 10 days. There are more than 40 salon-inspired shades in the collection.

Sally Hansen has introduced 14 new spring shades, reflecting the colors of the season and including shades created by Tracy Reese, inspired by her spring 2010 collection. The new shades include Amazing Blue, Pomegranate, Sunflowers, Iced Coffee and Silver Lining.

In other nail polish news, Nicole by OPI is rolling out “Gossip Girl”-inspired nail polish shades. As previously reported by Drug Store News, coming out at select Target stores in July and then select Walgreens, Ulta and other retailers in August are the new shades—Nicole… Spotted!; Too Rich for You; Scandals, Secrets and Sparkle; and Party in the Penthouse.

To promote the new limited-edition polish, Warner Home Video’s DVD release of “Gossip Girl: The Complete Third Season” will feature an exclusive $1-off, in-pack coupon for Nicole by OPI nail lacquers.

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