Lettering in Sales


Consumers are taking a layered approach to their skin care regimens, a trend that translates into multiple purchases and strong category sales in the mass facial skin care category.

?It?s become more common for consumers to use an oil or serum, followed by a moisturizer and then a BB cream,? says Donna Barson, beauty analyst at New York-based Kline Group. ?Consumers are becoming more accustomed to layering products.?

Sales of facial moisturizers were up 4 percent for the 52 weeks ending Oct. 5, 2014, according to U.S. multioutlet data from Chicago-based IRI. Facial cleanser sales were ahead nearly 4 percent for the same period, IRI found. ?Wipes are a growth area? in the category, Barson notes. ?They are a fast way to remove makeup before doing a deeper clean with facial-cleaning devices, which are becoming more popular with consumers.?

The most dynamic performance in the category comes from BB and CC creams, which offer consumers multiple benefits in one product. Euromonitor data indicates that the creams (classified by the London-based market research firm as ?other facial makeup?) saw 107 percent growth to $355 million in U.S. sales last year.

BB (short for beauty balms and blemish balms) and CC (for color correction or color control) products combine benefits from the skin care, sun care and color cosmetics categories to provide consumers with an all-in-one skin care solution. The multibenefit products, on the U.S. market since 2012, have been popular in Japan and South Korea for several years. Clichy, France-based L?Oréal was the first to introduce a mass-market BB cream in the United States, Garnier BB Cream Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector.

Chicago-based Mintel reports that acceptance of the multifunctional cream is on the rise. Nearly 29 percent of women reported using the product in 2013, compared with 24 percent in 2012, and Mintel Beauty and Personal Care Analyst Shannon Romanowski predicts that the ?market is sure to continue its upward trajectory.?

A recent study by The NPD Group, in Port Washington, N.Y., found that while only 2 percent of U.S. beauty shoppers have purchased a BB cream, nearly four in five of those who?ve tried one say they?ll buy it again. Bullish on the segment?s potential, some manufacturers have even added DD (daily defense) products, designed for deep moisturizing, to their lineups.

Anti-aging Sales Slipping

The success of do-it-all creams has had an impact on the other skin care categories. Euromonitor Beauty and Personal Care Analyst Nicole Tyrimou believes that ?weaker growth in facial moisturizers and sun care, coupled with static growth in anti-agers, may well be the result of the plethora of such multifunctional products in the marketplace.? IRI data show that sales in the anti-aging category slipped 2.5 percent for the 52 weeks ending Oct. 5, 2014.

Ingrid Jackel, president of City of Industry, Calif.-based Physicians Formula/Markwins International, expects the trend toward multifunctional products to continue. The brand?s Super BB line surged 88 percent in 2014 over last year and continues to see double-digit growth, and its Super CC franchise has become the No. 1 new ?masstige? franchise, according to Jackel. ?Further differentiating BBs and CCs will be key to success,? Jackel says. ?Generalist products will have longer lists of benefits, and others will have specific benefits associated with specific problems such as dark spots and acne.?

The proliferation of higher-priced masstige cosmetics can be a challenge for supermarket retailers with limited space to display the products and often no sales help on the floor to educate consumers about the benefits of these products, which can retail for as much as $25.

Manufacturers are communicating the benefits of the products through advertising, social and digital media, public relations, and point-of-sale education through merchandising and secondary packaging. Jackel attributes a significant boost in marketing communication campaigns to the success Physicians Formula has had this year.

L?Oreal and Garnier have included educational components in their free-standing inserts, and also put considerable advertising and digital media efforts behind their brands.

?Supermarket shoppers don?t have a lot of time to browse the cosmetics aisles, so categories that require a lot of consideration can suffer in this channel,? Barson says. ?Manufacturers are making their FSI ads much more information-focused, so that by the time consumers who are shopping these outlets for these products get to the store, they know what they want and are coupon-driven.?

Supermarket Strategies

Supermarket chains know that price is their edge in this category. At a ShopRite location in Plainview, N.Y., shelf stickers offered $3 off the $20-plus retail on Olay Total Effects CC eye creams and $5 of L?Oreal?s BB cream. Nearly every brand on the shelves was more than $1 off its retail price. Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans Food Markets makes a price statement as well, with signage that advertises ?Consistent Low Prices? and shelf talkers highlighting sales.

Chains that devote space to the category and create an environment for the products ? which can even include staffing departments with salespeople that can help educate consumers ? have had good results with higher-end skin care products.

At Phoenix-based Sprouts Farmers Market, all new and remodeled stores include a body care ?destination? department. ?This clean, in-line format invites our consumers in and allows them to be hands-on with the products. They can test our products in the store, and they also have access to knowledgeable staff that provide insight to help them make their purchase,? says Brandi Tanner, Sprouts? HBA category manager.

More than 170 H-E-B locations have beauty advisers on staff who can explain product benefits to customers, help them select the appropriate products and instruct them on the proper way to use them. The San Antonio-based chain also uses its website to highlight new products; its ?Winter Beauty Trends? link has a skin care component that highlights several key products.

With more advanced skin care products touting multiple benefits entering the market, increasingly sophisticated consumers will have more choices than ever. How supermarkets approach the category will require more thought.

?Supermarkets have to decide where beauty fits in their stores,? says Wendy Leibmann, CEO of New York-based WSL Strategic Retail. ?They have to decide if they are all about the basics and replenishment. The problem with that philosophy is that they miss all the opportunity that comes with new products, so they can?t really grow that business. They have to decide if they really care.?

?Supermarket shoppers don?t have a lot of time to browse the cosmetics aisles, so categories that require a lot of consideration can suffer in this channel.?
?Donna Barson, Kline Group

?Supermarkets have to decide where beauty fits in their stores. They have to decide if they are all about the basics and replenishment. The problem with that philosophy is that they miss all the opportunity that comes with new products.?
?Wendy Leibmann, WSL Strategic Retail

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