Unique skin, hair care needs drive shelf expansion

When it comes to beauty — especially skin care and hair care — there’s no denying that African-Americans represent a tremendous opportunity for manufacturers and retailers.

According to Nielsen’s recently released report, “African-American Consumers: Still Vital, Still Growing,” the number of African-Americans in the United States reached nearly 43 million in 2012, representing roughly 13.7% of the U.S. population. Since 2000, the total U.S. population only increased by 11.3%, while the African-American population rose by 17.9%. Furthermore, African-Americans continue to be important consumers with a collective buying power estimated to reach a hefty $1.1 trillion by 2015. 

The reality is that retailers and manufacturers of skin care and hair care products have a unique opportunity to connect with African-American shoppers and snap up a slice of the projected $1.1 trillion pie.

In fact, according to Nielsen’s research, African-Americans tend to buy more hand and body lotions, and all-purpose skin creams at a rate of 54% and 40% higher than the general population, respectively. And people with darker skin colors are more likely to use products that focus on discoloration or dark spots compared with lighter skinned people.

Meanwhile, hair care is especially important to African-American shoppers, due in large part to the dryness of their hair. This is evidenced by the fact that they spend more than nine times more on ethnic hair and beauty products than any other group, according to Nielsen research. 

Echoing this sentiment, Mintel’s “Black Haircare – U.S. – August 2012” report states that, “In spite of the recession-driven slowdown of the economy, sales of black hair care have held up well, as consumers have shifted their purchases from expensive salons to drug stores and beauty 
supply shops.”

Noting the growing natural hair trend that has seen a shift from relaxed to natural hair, giving rise to products that help hair transition, Mintel projects that when adjusted for inflation, the African-American hair care market will increase 2% from 2012 to 2017.

Retailers such as Target have been offering a greater selection of hair care products. Target has recently doubled or tripled its multi-ethnic beauty merchandising in select stores, with some sets reaching up to 36 feet. Today, Target has more than 1,000 unique multi-ethnic merchandise SKUs 
in beauty.


The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Ethnic Beauty Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.

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