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Three Years of Double-Digit Growth Drive Natural HBC Market to $5 Billion: Study

NEW YORK -- Buoyed by three straight years double-digit gains, the market for natural personal care products reached $5 billion in 2004, increasing by more than 50 percent since 2000, according to a new report from market research publisher Packaged Facts.

According to The U.S. Market for Natural and Organic Personal Care Products, 2nd Edition, several factors are contributing to this strong growth -- a growth which is even more significant when contrasted to the relatively flat market for conventional HBC products. These factors include the aging baby boomer population, widespread concern about toxic ingredients, an ongoing effort on the part of manufacturers to improve natural HBC efficacy, and an expanding natural retail channel together with an expanding natural presence in mass.

Boulder, Colo.-based natural and organic food retailer Wild Oats' has experienced similar growth in its personal care category, according to Sonja Tuitele, corporate communications director at the chain. "Fifty percent growth in four years is relatively consistent with what we've experienced," Tuitele told Progressive Grocer.

"Largely the growth is coming from more people becoming aware and concerned about toxic ingredients and the high quality of the natural personal care products we sell," Tuitele said. "This goes hand-in-hand with an aging population on a quest to look and feel younger, who has a significant amount of disposable income."

Marketers of natural HBC products are also helping drive sales with increased media exposure: The Packaged Facts report cited TNS Market Intelligence/CMR data that points to steadily increasing advertising expenditures by this group, which spent $224.9 million to advertise in mass media in 2004, 38.8 percent more than the prior year's $162 million.

"The Big Blur has already begun," said Don Montuori, acquisitions editor of Packaged Facts. "Although relatively few natural brands are significant enough to show up in mass-market data tracking, natural brands' collective presence is a growing force. And in the natural channel's leading retail outlets, such as Whole Foods, both natural and non-natural brands are stocked in center-store, if not already in the personal care department."

At $3 billion, skincare is the leading segment of the market, while hair care has had the strongest growth over the five-year period. By 2009, Packaged Facts projects that the natural personal care market will climb to $7.9 billion.

The report provides a detailed analysis of the U.S. retail marketplace for natural care products; demographic profiles based on Simmons data; and analysis of the influence of trends such as the convenience and health on consumer purchasing habits.
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