The U.S. market for professional skin care products is showing signs of recovery as the economy starts to rebound. However, consumers still have tight budgets and continue to be cautious with their spending, especially on luxury type items such as premium-priced skin care products. When it comes to making purchase decisions seeing is believing, and products that make a visible and tangible difference on the skin are in demand. As today’s savvy and results-oriented consumers become increasingly informed about various skin conditions and the active ingredients associated with treating them, they are willing to spend extra on products which promise to improve specific skin ailments.
Extra value is a must and manufacturers are launching products that provide multifunctional properties, making features like anti-aging and sun protection very common additions to formulations across a wide range of skin care products from cleansers to moisturizers. Companies are also more careful about product development and study the science behind ingredients to know what works. These results-oriented products are often supported by clinical studies measuring functionality, thereby allowing marketers to place appealing certification banners on their packaging to draw customers’ attention.
The draw of superior results offered by professional skin care over those of more generic mass retail products remains strong. While consumers saved in 2009 and traded down to mass and retail brands with lower price points, many are now coming back to professional skin care products. As a result, sales of professional skin care products have increased by nearly 3% in 2010 following a 10% decline in 2009. New customers have also been drawn into the market by deep discounts and attractive promotions offered by professional outlets, expanding the demographic of those who try cosmetic procedures and professional skin care to include more men and younger customers.
One of the incentives that leading consumers to pursue facial treatments is the hope that younger looks will give them an extra advantage in the business environment. A growing number of women aged over 50 who are out of work are opting for cosmetic procedures in the hope that improved looks will help them better compete on the job market.
However, going under the knife is not always preferred way toward better looks. In the medical care providers channels, some consumers have traded down on cosmetic services. The trend of high cost, invasive plastic surgery procedures has slowed down to a great extent by the recent economic downturn. In 2011, many consumers will continue to walk away from these expensive procedures and will elect less invasive procedures such as Dysport, Restylane, Hyaluronic Acid and Botox injections, as well as laser treatments and acid peels instead. In addition to the use of the above procedures, consumers will indulge in regular visits to their skin care therapists, spas and skin care clinics. As a result, the medical care providers channel is expected to play a major role in the fast recovery of the professional skin care market which, according to Kline’s forecasts, should reach a compound annual growth rate in excess of 6% by 2015.
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