Doctors, Spas Looking to Professional Skin Care Brands for Support, According to Kline Survey

LITTLE FALLS, NJ, January 30, 2007 – The U.S. professional skin care market is riding a wave of robust growth, driven by a trend toward at-home treatments that promise the same results once available only through surgical procedures or high-end clinical products. The trend has not only boosted sales, it has also caused a shift in distribution, with physicians and spa professionals facing stiff competition from retail channels, including some chain drugstores and other mass merchandisers.

This retail competition has both physicians and spas increasingly looking to product marketers for help in holding on to their share of this booming market, according to a recently published study by Kline & Company.

“The vast majority of the physicians and spas we spoke with are very optimistic about the future of the professional skin care market, but they’re also looking for more support from the brands,” says Carrie Mellage, industry manager for the Consumer Products practice of Kline’s Research division. “It was nearly unanimous that they wanted to see more in the way of providing product samples, training, and educational materials to help them sell the products.”

Responding to the needs and wants of the different sales channels may become even more important for marketers as the competitive landscape in this sector continues to change, Mellage adds, pointing to Procter & Gamble’s acquisition of the Doctor’s Dermatologic Formula product line last week.

“A large company with deep pockets like P&G is definitely capable of providing the support that doctors and spas are looking for, and this in itself should give the smaller brands a good reason to listen to their retailing partners,” Mellage says.

Kline’s study, Professional Skin Care 2006, pegs U.S. sales in this market sector at $870 million in 2006, representing more than five straight years of double-digit growth. Sales through the medical channel––including dermatologists’ and plastic surgeons’ offices––have grown by more than 17% from 2005 to 2006, a boost that has helped to mitigate a decline in the number of cosmetic procedures performed by physicians. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the total number of non-surgical procedures declined by more than 4% last year, dragged down by a 50% drop in chemical peels.

Given this drop, more than one-third of physicians and one-half of spa professionals surveyed by Kline are predicting a boom in the market over the next five years.

“Clearly the physicians are seeing a shift in their business, from providing procedural services to offering consultation and product recommendations to their patients,” says Mellage. “Because of the more personal doctor-patient relationship, they often know more about what their customers are looking for and can provide valuable feedback to the brand marketers in terms of what drives sales through this channel.”

Of the 300 dermatologists, plastic surgeons, and spa managers interviewed for Kline’s study, the vast majority cited product samples and training as their most prevalent needs.

“More than 80% of both spas and physicians surveyed consider product samples the best form of support, but there seems to be a gap in marketers meeting that request,” Mellage says. “In terms of training, brands like Dermalogica and Obagi are well known for their educational programs, but will that be enough?”

“Brand marketers should be aware of what the different professionals selling their products to the public need in order to keep the sales flowing through these very important channels,” says Susan Babinsky, senior vice president and head of Kline’s Consumer Products consulting practice. “Our study gives an indication of how well the brands are meeting those needs and which ones need to spend more time and effort to cultivate their relationships with their retailing partners.”

PROFESSIONAL SKIN CARE 2006 is the fourth edition of Kline’s comprehensive series on professional brands sold through spas, salons, physicians, and retail stores. The 2006 edition includes separate volumes covering the United States, Europe, and China. Each volume examines industry trends, market size, share, and growth data by product and distribution channel. Approximately 25 leading brands are profiled in each regional volume.

For more information on this study, go to or contact Carrie Mellage at +1-973-435-3412. In Europe, contact Erin Durham at +39-0331-976969.

To learn more about Kline’s customized consulting capabilities for the consumer products industry, contact Susan Babinsky at +1-973-435-3365.

Established in 1959, Kline & Company ( is an international management consulting and market research firm serving the consumer products, life sciences, specialty chemicals, and energy industries.

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