Getting Personal


More grocers are beautifying their bottom lines with store-within-store health, beauty and wellness sections.

When it comes to health and beauty care products, there’s no such thing as getting too personal. These days, the biggest trend in this category is the increasing niche marketing of products designed to make us look and feel our personal best. Some retailers, like San Antonio-based H.E. Butt Grocery Co., have devoted entire sections to gender-specific health and beauty care consumers, while others, like the Kroger Co., have launched extensive store-branded body care lines for the “family-focused” shopper.

Who’s driving what in personal care? We asked HBA Expo’s education program specialist, Rebecca Fraimow, for the lowdown on this September’s HBA Global Expo. Held in New York, HBA Expo is the largest product development, event and educational conference for the personal care, fragrance, wellness and cosmetics industries.

“Some of the most relevant topics that we’re covering include … the growing men’s market and ethnic markets, the globalization of beauty, the aging population of the beauty consumer, and, of course, the move toward sustainability,” says Fraimow In a nutshell, the personal care industry offers something for everyone, and retailers are doing their best to break it all down for savvy, fiscally conscious consumers.

What Women Want

In these complex economic times, it’s going to take more than a new shade of lipstick to put a smile on the faces of America’s female shoppers. “The Lipstick Effect” — the term coined during the Great Depression to describe the trend of women turning to little luxuries like lipstick during tough economic times — failed to kick in this recessionary time around. In fact, according to market research company the NPD Group, based in Port Washington, N.Y., overall usage of makeup products among 18- to 64-year-old women is down 5 percent this year vs. 2008.

But offer women lipstick or a beauty product that does double duty — like provide sun protection or anti-aging benefits along with beautification, and you may have a deal.

According to a newly updated NPD study, “Makeup In-Depth Consumer Report,” almost nine out of 10 women (86 percent) have used a makeup product that contains a skin care benefit in the past year. Topping the list of most sought-after benefits were moisturizing (54 percent) and SPF protection (51 percent). Women also favored oil-free (32 percent), wrinkle reduction (30 percent) and natural/mineral-based cosmetics (27 percent).

Tween Scene

While the NPD Group reports a drop in makeup usage among adult women, according to its new report, “Insight Into the Youth Beauty Market,” tween girls (ages 8 to 12) say they use beauty products more often. Specifically, the report found that mascara usage in this group has nearly doubled in the past two years, up from 10 percent to 18 percent. Meanwhile tween usage of eyeliner is up 6 percent and lipstick is up 5 percent over 2007 figures.

Hoping to inspire tween spirit, a spate of new companies marketing natural health and beauty products to the 8- to12-yearold set has recently emerged. Motivated by concerns about the potential impact of certain ingredients in traditional beauty products on growing girls, companies such as Del Mar, Calif.-based Glory for Girls; Ava Anderson Non-Toxic, based in Warren, R.I.; Good For You Girls, based in New Hartford, Conn.; and Sparklehearts in Huntington Beach, Calif., specialize in tween-targeted natural beauty products from skin care to body lotion to hair detangler.

The Money in ‘Manscaping’

Nielsen puts the men’s personal wash, hair care and deodorant market at about $2 billion, but that’s a number that Procter & Gamble believes has room to grow. The Cincinnati-based consumer products powerhouse was the impetus behind Guy Space, which launched in several HEB supermarkets earlier this year. Guy Space — a personal care section devoted to the tools of a well-groomed man — offers more than 500 products, along with design features such as a flat-screen TV broadcasting sports, and blue floor lighting to illuminate the road to a clean shave and good hair days.

Unilever also has its eyes on the male grooming market, investing big bucks in product lines and market research. In August, the Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based marketer released a study it had conducted for its AXE brand in partnership with the Sports and Leisure Research Group in White Plains, N.Y. The study polled male and female college students at six major U.S. schools to learn what they thought about male grooming. Not surprisingly, the female students reported that they liked clean guys, with 75 percent saying they would only date a guy who showered daily.

Ethnic Market Expansion

All indicators point to continued growth in the ethnic health and beauty care market. Chicago-based market research firm Mintel conducted a recent study of Hispanic women in particular, which found that they feel underrepresented in the beauty and personal care aisle. Over half of survey respondents said they would like to see more personal care products designed just for them. What’s more, 81 percent of Latinas surveyed said they want to see more personal care products with bilingual packaging.

The buying power of the ethnic market in general and Hispanics specifically isn’t lost on P&G. The company chose HEB and the San Antonio area for the launch of Guy Space because of its large Latino population, which spends more money on personal grooming than other groups, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

Private Label Proud

Private label leader Kroger has more than doubled its number of store-brand cosmetics, shampoos and other beauty items while preparing to launch more products later this year and into 2011.

The Cincinnati-based grocer said it has experienced double-digit percentage increases in sales during the rollout of its private label Mirra beauty line that began last October, according to the Associated Press.

With Mirra — a line that includes shampoo, conditioner, makeup brushes, skin care, foaming bath, body wash, body lotion and body mist products — Kroger is targeting “family-focused women seeking effortless beauty.” The personal care line is designed to meet three distinct needs: “Daily” personal care, “Renew” for rejuvenation, and “Inspire” for nights out on the town.

As Americans remain cautious about spending, the popularity of private label products has surged across the board, according to Kline & Co. And in terms of personal care products, frugal consumers are showing that generic brands are looking pretty good, with sales of private label personal care products surging nearly 6 percent in 2009, compared with an overall market decline of 0.8 percent, notes the Little Falls, N.J.- based market researcher.

Naturally Beautiful

In July of this year, the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 was introduced to the House, and the lack of federal regulation on beauty products was brought to the fore. Whether the bill passes, it’s clear that Pandora’s beauty box is now open, and retailers and consumers alike are demanding greater scrutiny when it comes to the safety of ingredients used in personal care products.

This past June, Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market said that as of June 1, 2011, all organic personal care products sold in its U.S. stores would be certified organic. At present, all “organic” grocery products in Whole Foods are made of at least 95 percent organic agricultural materials. With the retailer’s new guidelines, body care products with the word “organic” on the package will signify the same set of ideals.

But natural food markets aren’t the only ones recognizing the importance of natural and organic personal care. According to Chicago-based Mintel, the market for natural beauty products, or “nutricosmetics,” is projected to reach $2.5 billion by 2012, up from the current $1.5 billion.

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