Stopping the clock

When it comes to skin care, facial anti-aging potions still reign, as women continue their quest for younger, healthier looking skin. However, the mass market continues to face fierce competition, thanks to the flood of new products and affluent consumers migrating to premium solutions.

The economic downturn had prompted some affluent consumers to trade down to more affordable mass-market solutions and lower-income consumers to buy on discount or switch to private label but, with the lift in the economy, the pattern has seemed to shift in recent years.

“Consumers returned to premium products in 2011 and continued to do so in 2012. While advanced anti-aging technology increasingly is incorporated into mass-market products, many consumers believe that premium anti-agers still hold a performance edge over mass-market brands,” Mintel stated in its 2013 report, “Skin Care in the U.S.

That shift is evident in the most recent 52-week sales data provided by IRI, in which sales of facial anti-aging products decreased 2.8% at U.S. multi-outlets.

Meanwhile, the NPD Group recently reported that sales of prestige anti-aging products rose 4% to $436 million for the 12 months ended January 2014

Looking to remain competitive, mass-market brands continue to step up their game with formulas that tout new active ingredients and multi-functionality. Meanwhile, retailers continue to enhance their beauty departments to better compete with specialty beauty retailers and department stores. For example, Rite Aid’s revamped Beverly Hills store, which recently celebrated its grand re-opening, features an expanded beauty department with several new prestige cosmetic and skin care lines. Also new to the store is a Rite Aid Beauty Advisor specially trained to assist shoppers through demonstrations and education.

Target also is proving that it’s serious about beauty, staffing hundreds of its stores with beauty advisers, revamping the look and feel of its beauty department and now has stepped up its offerings by adding premium skin care products to 749 stores in the United States. The brands include Vichy, La Roche-Posay, MD Complete by Dr. Brian Zelickson, Laneige, 29 by Lydia Mondavi, Own Skin Health and Borghese Age Defying Cellulare Complex.

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