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Smooth Operators


Traditional moisturizers are outpacing anti-aging products, but products with a therapeutic positioning are gaining steam in both the facial and body moisturizer categories.

Dollar sales of facial moisturizers grew 1.7 percent in the supermarket channel for the 52-week period ending Oct. 4, 2015, according to Chicago-based IRI, but growth among dermacosmetic/pharma-branded products outpaced sales of traditional brands.

While Johnson & Johnson’s Neutrogena and Procter & Gamble’s Olay both hold about a 20 percent dollar share of the market, Olay’s share slid nearly 5 percent, while Neutrogena’s grew 20 percent. Valeant Pharmaceuticals’ CeraVe saw a 46 percent leap in dollar sales, and Galderma Laboratories’ Cetaphil brand experienced a 5 percent dollar sale gain during the same period.

Dermocosmetic/pharma brands such as Neutrogena and CeraVe are an important part of skin care, according to research from London-based Euromonitor. “Neutrogena, the largest dermocosmetic skin care brand, with sales of $878 million in 2014, is marketed as being dermatologist-recommended and as offering premium-quality skin care products,” notes Ashley Sellers, a Euromonitor spokeswoman. “J&J’s Aveeno sister brand, marketed with the Active Naturals’ tagline, is also a dermocosmetic brand and is ranked ninth in skin care, with $366 million in sales.”

According to Sellers, there’s little distinction between therapeutic brands, which include Beiersdorf’s Eucerin, and standard skin care brands, and both segments have extended their offerings to include added benefits such as sun protection or anti-aging properties.

Meanwhile, “masstige” brands like Olay have seen sales sag. “Lack of innovation and lack of the right experience in mass retail that justifies the premium price points has negatively impacted growth in facial moisturizers in the mass market,” says Wendy Leibmann, CEO of New York-based WSL Strategic Retail. During the recession, she adds, shoppers were willing to trade down from department and specialty beauty stores, but since the economy has improved, consumers are no longer willing to “settle.” As a result, promotional pricing is common in this segment of the category.

Anti-aging Products Flat

Dollar sales of anti-aging facial moisturizers fell 3 percent to $139 million at supermarkets for the period previously cited, according to IRI. “While advanced anti-aging technology is increasingly incorporated into mass-market products, many consumers believe that premium anti-agers sold at specialty and department stores still hold a performance edge over mass-market brands,” says Euromonitor’s Sellers.

She adds that serums and eye treatments could be an area of development for mass-market shoppers. “Anti-aging, concentrated serums and eye treatment products are performing well in the prestige market, since the delicate eye area is one of the first areas to show the signs of aging and consumers seek to reduce the appearance of crow’s feet, puffiness and under-eye bags through eye treatment serums,” notes Sellers.

But Leibmann cautions that since mass consumers are more inclined to keep their skin regimens simple, it may take a while for supermarket retailers to build this segment of the business. “In time, if the benefits and value are really clear, these segments could grow in the channel,” she explains. “But for now, getting mass shoppers to add one more item to their skin care regimen remains a big challenge.”

One segment that has shown significant growth at retail is that of fade/bleach products. “Skin-whitening products are a niche category in the U.S., comprising around 5 percent of total facial skin care value sales in 2014,” observes Sellers, “but pale skin is becoming more accepted in the U.S., with the rise of certain pale-skinned celebrities such as Anne Hathaway and Emma Watson. These products are marketed as brightening the skin for a youthful radiance, or as reducing the appearance of dark spots, which are the result of aging and sun exposure.”

Olay Regenerist Luminous Tone Perfecting Cream, introduced last year, performed well, as did Burt’s Bees Dark Spot Corrector. Among natural/organic skin care products, the Oakland, Calif-based Clorox Co.’s Burt’s Bees is the leader, according to Euromonitor research.

Sales of natural and organic products have risen as consumers have grown more concerned with ingredients. “Companies have been focusing more on products with free-from claims as they realize that consumers are increasingly aware of the possible irritation from artificial fragrances and preservatives, as well as gluten,” says Sellers. “Burt’s Bees… has been able to achieve strong sales due to wide availability in… retail outlets ranging from natural foods supermarkets to drug stores to mass merchandisers.”

Burt’s Bees isn’t alone on store shelves, as mainstream supermarket chains have broadened their departments in an effort to grab a bigger share of the natural product segment. Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans Food Markets, for example, devotes up to 20 feet to an in-store Nature’s Marketplace section that prominently features Burt’s Bees alongside such brands as Weleda, Andalou Naturals, Alba, Jason and Giovanni.

Therapeutic Products Drive Body Lotions

Products that have a dermocosmetic/pharma or therapeutic positioning are driving growth in the body moisturizer segment. CeraVe body moisturizers had the biggest dollar share spike of the period, with a 33 percent leap over last year, according to IRI, while Chattem’s Gold Bond, which has had specialized therapeutic formulas in its lineup since 2013, grew its dollar sales by 11 percent.

Under its Gold Bond brand, Chattem, a division of Bridgewater, N.J.-based Sanofi, launched Diabetics’ Foot Cream, Diabetics’ Body Cream and Eczema Body Cream in 2013, following up with the introduction of Rough & Bumpy Skin Daily Therapy Cream, Diabetics’ Hand Cream, Eczema Hand Cream, and Strength & Resilience Cream over the following 18 months. The line’s latest product is Dark Spot Minimizing Cream.

Formulation innovations have also been driving the body moisturizer segment. This summer, Cincinnati-based Kao USA launched Jergens Wet Skin Moisturizer. Designed to be applied to wet skin so it’s instantly absorbed, the product is touted as providing twice the moisturization in half the time. Available in three fragrances, Jergens Wet Skin Moisturizer has a suggested retail price of $6.99 for a 10-ounce bottle.

“Jergens Wet Skin Moisturizer sinks right into wet skin and locks in hydration at the moment when skin is most receptive to moisturization,” notes Jergens Brand Manager Vivian Bastos. “Because you don’t rinse it off, none of the hydrating ingredients get washed away. This new formula allows consumers to get better moisture even faster, which we’ve found has helped to increase women’s overall total moisturizer usage.”

Nivea, from Wilton, Conn.-based Biesdorf, offers a similar product line, Nivea In-Shower Body Lotion, in four fragrances. The new wet-application products are the first innovations in the category since manufacturers introduced spray-on moisturizers in 2013, when Edgewood Cliffs, N.J.-based Unilever launched Vaseline Spray & Go.

Companies have been focusing more on products with free-from claims as they realize that consumers are increasingly aware of the possible irritation from artificial fragrances and preservatives, as well as gluten.”
—Ashley Sellers, Euromonitor

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