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Multicultural and mainstream becoming indivisible.

NEW YORK -- Evidence that the line between multicultural and mainstream products is becoming increasingly less defined can be found in the beauty aisles at most retail stores. So-called ethnic products in hair care, makeup and skin care are no longer relegated to their own section of the shelf and instead are often arranged with more recognizable and popular brands.

Multicultural Americans make up a large, young and growing segment with more than 120 million consumers in the U.S., according to data from Nielsen, which estimates 24% of households in the U.S. are considered multicultural--and there are no signs that this growth is slowing down. By 2020, Nielsen expects the Hispanic population in the U.S. to grow by 6.8 million, complemented by an additional 2.3 million Asian-Americans and 1.8 million African-Americans.

Though purchases by multicultural Americans over-index across beauty care categories, major brands have begun to take seriously this growing consumer segment and have put forth new and innovative products to meet their needs.

Higher-end and niche brands have always catered to the multicultural market, but main stream beauty suppliers of products in food, drug and mass outlets are really looking at innovation, according to analysis from Nielsen. These brands are not just taking existing lines and changing bottle colors or adding a fragrance or an extra ingredient, but rather investing in research and development--particularly in hair care.

For instance, chains that are leading the effort to recognize this emerging market have had end-cap promotions geared to women of color and their hair care needs, or an emphasis on new shades for multihued skin tones in their advertising and marketing.

In terms of catering to the growing multicultural hair care segment, e-commerce initiatives, along with other efforts of beauty manufacturers and food, drug and mass retailers, reflect the growing purchasing power of the multicultural consumer. But while the population as a whole is spending more, there are key differences among ethnic groups that retailers need to understand to meet the demand of this growing consumer base.

Hispanics, for instance, tend to spend a lot on hair care, with Latinas especially favoring hair color, hair spray and styling products, according to Nielsen.

Hair care is also a priority for African-Americans and--as multicultural products for textured hair become more mainstream--they no longer have to shop in niche beauty supply stores or higher-end department stores to find the products they want. Most of those products are now readily available at the local drug store or supermarket. Adding to this, products for textured hair have cross-cultural appeal, as wavy or curly hair is not limited to African-American women. Also a factor is the growing awareness of the potential harmful chemicals in relaxers, which has made textured hair even more popular.

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Publication:Chain Drug Review
Date:Jun 4, 2018
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