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Drug chains winning battle for skin care consumer.

NEW YORK -- If beauty is as beauty does, then a lot of categories haven't been worthy of the name over the past year. But skin care stands in contrast to other floundering segments of beauty.

The growth in skin care categories in chain drug stores has been striking, ranging from a 48.5% increase in the body antiaging segment to a 15.6% rise for fade/bleach creams. Other categories generating double-digit growth in the year ended August 9 were facial antiaging and depilatories, according to Information Resources Inc. (IRI).

All told, the skin care market climbed 10% at chain drug stores in the IRI tracking period, providing welcome relief from the recessional woes of other front-end categories.

"Of all the HBC categories we track, skin care is the most deserving of extra support and space from drug chains," says Kurt Jetta, president of the market research firm TABS Group. "Growth has been solid and consistent, there is continuous innovation in the category, it is relatively profitable, and it is a beauty area where drug is winning: Their growth trends have consistently outpaced the general market over the past two to three years."

Skin care sales in food, drug and discount stores combined--excluding Wal-Mart Stores Inc.--grew 6.3% over the past year, almost four fewer points than in drug stores alone, according to IRI.

"There are many factors contributing to the success of skin care in drug," notes Jetta. "Over time, though, we find that their early adoption of innovation, particularly from niche brands, is a key factor in their success."

Consistent innovation, especially in the form of new technologies, is the key to the market's strength, agrees one chain drug category manager. "It's a trend-driven market in which consumers have always been willing to embrace the hot formula or system, whether it was botox or microdermabrasion," she says. "That's why it has been recession-resistant--people always want 'the next big thing,' and suppliers have been steadily obliging them with it."

Another retailer points out that drug chains are ideally positioned to capture skin care consumers who are abandoning specialty and department stores because of the economy. "Because there have been so many familiar upscale brands, people tend to connote skin care with luxury," he remarks. "So the last place many want to go for products is a cold, impersonal supermarket or big box.

"But drug chains, with their heritage as a beauty destination, can make skin care consumers feel comfortable. And the new upscale departments at some chains are adding to the draw."


Among suppliers, innovators include large and small companies. The start-up Take Mission Product Holdings Inc. this year launched Mission Skincare products for active people, with endorsements from such athletes as Serena Williams and Sergio Garcia. This month the line is being extended with eight items, "and we have more than a dozen product innovations slated for 2010," notes company founder and chief marketing officer Josh Shaw.

"The days of consumers just accepting archaic formulations ... are long gone," he says. "Today's consumers deserve better technology, better formulations and better performance."

Mission Skin Care is serving this group "by listening to active consumers and bringing them into the innovation process," adds Shaw. "Generic, metoo products won't cut it--innovative enhancement products will."

Innovation by big companies was exemplified this summer by Beiersdorf Inc.'s booth at the BlogHer Conference in Chicago. Giving members of the blogging community a glimpse into their skin's future, the company demonstrated its "time machine" aging simulator. Visitors to the company's Eucerin brand booth could step into the simulator, which animates the facial aging process, examining intrinsic and extrinsic aging factors on the face. This projects how skin will age and provides early warning signs of skin damage, including incidental sun exposure.

In addition to receiving a customized view of the aging process, attendees were educated about the benefits of using such products as Eucerin Everyday Protection Body Lotion SPF 15 and Face Lotion SPF 30.

The body lotion is formulated to shield skin from incidental sun exposure that can increase the risk of developing skin cancer, besides causing wrinkles and other signs of premature skin aging. Containing intensive moisturization and daily UVA/UVB protection, the product is recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation as an effective UV sunscreen.
Skin Care in Drug Stores: $1.65 Billion *

Facial Cleansers      16% ($256.2 mil.)
Facial Antiaging      28% ($467.1 mil.)
Acne Treatments       10% ($169.8 mil.)
Facial Moisturizers    8% ($140.7 mil.)
Depilatories           6% ($97.9 mil.)
Fade/Bleach            2% ($32 mil.)
Body Antiaging         1% ($10.3 mil.)
Hand/Body Lotion      29% ($472.8 mil.)

* 52 weeks ended August 9, 2009.

Source: Information Resources Inc.

Note: Table made from pie chart.
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Title Annotation:The Market
Comment:Drug chains winning battle for skin care consumer.(The Market)
Publication:Chain Drug Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 14, 2009
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