The market for pricey professional skin care products, particularly those dispensed by physicians, is giving an incredible performance despite the country’s worst health and economic period in recent times.
U.S. sales for these physician-dispensed brands, led by SkinCeuticals, are projected to see increases similar to last year, when the medical care providers channel grew 11%. While most brands have leaned on their digital assets, including brand websites and third-party retailers such as Dermstore and Amazon Professional, the greater surprise is how successful doctors have been in their retailing efforts to clientele.
Despite unemployment hitting all-time highs, the consumer market for these products has been fairly resilient, with people eager to spend at record levels by either increasing the number of products used in their at-home regimens or trading up to higher price point products such as retinol and other specialty treatments.
The secret sauce to these brands’ success stories, especially during the peak of the shutdown, seems to be e-commerce. This channel accounted for nearly 10% of the market last year and is expected to contribute a more considerable share to the market’s total sales in 2020. All areas of e-commerce have shown vitality, with Dermstore becoming the industry sweetheart. Brands have also increased their social media initiatives, partnering with physicians for Instagram Live events and other educational content while doors were shuttered; as a result, they stole consumers who typically find skin care in cosmetics specialty stores such as Sephora and Ulta (aka the luxury channel) and drew them to brand websites and third-party e-tailers. However, while e-commerce is a critical part of the equation, it was not the only segment that proved resilient.
The strong performance of the physician-dispensed segment is also supported by findings from Kline’s recently published Physician-Dispensed Skin Care: Perception and Satisfaction Survey report, which reveals that the current pandemic has pushed physicians to dispense skin care products more often than before; about two-thirds of the surveyed physicians cited that their retail business of skin care products has grown in 2020. In addition, the majority of dispensing physicians were satisfied with their largest skin care supplier across key attributes, including product delivery, customer service, training and education, and marketing, which indicates the marketers’ increased focus on offering better service and support to their physician accounts.
We will continue to track this key market segment through the next edition of Physician-Dispensed Skin Care: Perception and Satisfaction Survey, which will highlight changes in physicians’ behavior versus 2020. In addition, the United States and Europe volumes of the Professional Skin Care Global Series report will be published in less than a month, offering a broader spectrum of knowledge on all channels of distributions used by professional skin care brands.