Professional skin care market takes a hit, Kline reports

LITTLE FALLS, N.J. The recession has taken its toll on the professional skin care market, but that hasn't stopped marketers from rolling out new products, many of which are designed to fight the signs of aging, according to a recent study by consulting and research firm Kline.

According to Kline's "Professional Skin Care 2009 Global Series: Market Analysis and Opportunities" report, Europe and the United States posted "substantial declines," with the exception to the trend coming from the BRIC markets spearheaded by Brazil, which posted growth of 11.1%.

"The recession's impact in Europe and the United States resulted in a change in spending patterns, a decline in the frequency of visits to spas and physician's offices, and a shift to lower-priced brands," stated Karen Doskow, industry manager for Kline. "But even in the face of a gloomy economy, industry leaders fought back with a healthy flow of new product launches, many of which targeted the anti-aging segment."

Doskow further explained that "products that were unique, multitasking or offering dual benefits certainly stood out for the recession-stricken consumer. Professional skin care marketers acknowledged the need to diversify, segment and innovate their offerings in order to cater to a change in demand for the products that are preventative or that are proven to help reverse signs of aging."

The report found that anti-aging products accounted for 41.1% in the United States and nearly 50% of sales in Europe and Brazil. Product trends varied on a worldwide basis -- skin whitening was a No. 1 concern for marketers in China and Japan, and anticellulite treatments were a top priority in Europe and Brazil.

The direct sales channel in the U.S. professional market posted a 10% increase, making it a top trend for the year. In this channel, marketers not only intensified their support of accounts with business-building tools, but they also took charge of building relationships directly with customers through podcasts, YouTube clips and member-only clubs. Incorporating social media outlets into their marketing strategy has become the standard practice in recent years, allowing marketers to reach out directly to the customer.

This, in turn, is quickly becoming a dominant way to reinforce brand imaging and promote new products.

Looking ahead, Kline predicted that the professional skin care market for the United States will grow by a CAGR of 5.6% through 2014, or if exceptional conditions prevail, the market could grow as high as 11.3% a year. Medical care providers, achieving the strongest growth rate, would boost sales.

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