The reasons for using beauty products are different for every women. Whether it is to enhance, to cover up, to join a trend or to express individuality, new research from Mintel reveals that seven in 10 US female beauty consumers (71 percent) agree that it’s important to always look their best when leaving the house. What’s more, 69 percent say that they get a boost of self esteem from using beauty products.

In addition to looking their best, female beauty product consumers value originality as the vast majority (81 percent) believe it is important to express a personal style rather than follow the latest beauty trends. Meanwhile, two thirds (64 percent) believe that it’s important to keep up a youthful appearance.  

Total US retail sales of beauty products have been on a positive growth trajectory for several years, reaching an estimated $46.2 billion in 2015. Mintel projects beauty product sales to post gains through 2020, growing at an annual average rate of two-three percent. What’s more, the beauty category is dominated by three segments, with color cosmetics making up 31 percent of market share, followed by haircare (24 percent) and facial skincare (21 percent)*.

“The overall beauty and personal care market has been on a positive growth trajectory in recent years, with beauty product sales expected to continue to grow, driven by an improving economy and growth in the US population. Positive consumer attitudes underpin the high usage of beauty products and suggest marketing themes related to both confidence and the pleasure of a beauty routine are likely to resonate with women. Whether for mass or prestige brands, it is important to highlight how women can create diverse, personal looks and cultivate their own style rather than showcasing the newest trends,” said Margie Nanninga, Beauty Analyst at Mintel.

65% of female beauty consumers find the number of options when shopping for products overwhelming.

While the competitive beauty landscape can drive consumer interest, it can also be difficult to navigate as nearly two thirds of female beauty consumers (65 percent) find the number of options when shopping for products overwhelming. However, more than half (57 percent) find pleasure in shopping for beauty products and nearly two thirds (63 percent) enjoy sampling products.

Shoppers often turn to other consumers, rather than brands, for information and ideas about beauty products: nearly one third of women who use beauty products rely on recommendations from family and friends (32 percent). This is especially true for Millennial female beauty consumers with 37 percent looking to product reviews, compared to 32 percent of female beauty consumers overall. What’s more, one quarter of female Millennials who use beauty products (25 percent) get their information from beauty blogs as compared to just 16 percent of female beauty consumers overall.

“Our research shows that the majority of women feel overwhelmed by the number of products available in this highly fragmented and competitive beauty market. As such, consumers may be lacking the appropriate education on how best to make purchases that are right for them, highlighting a need for tools to help differentiate between products and brands. While broad-based, traditional advertising and packaging are vital to reaching older consumers, Millennial-focused brands and product lines must have a strong online presence. Millennials are looking for the personal, interactive experience offered by mobile apps and social media sites, which are readily accessible via smartphones,” continued Nanninga.

69% of women who use beauty products spend just 20 minutes or less on their daily beauty routine.

Although most (54 percent) enjoy following a beauty regimen, nearly seven in 10 women who use beauty products (69 percent) spend just 20 minutes or less on their daily beauty routine. In fact, the majority (84 percent) of female beauty consumers report having only basic or intermediate skills, while more than half (56 percent) either don’t or rarely experiment. Consequently, ease of use (45 percent) is one of the top reasons for purchase, surpassed only by benefit (52 percent), and followed by products usually used by the consumer (41 percent).

“Even as the majority of women use some beauty products on a regular basis and many enjoy shopping, sampling and using products, we find that most women are prioritizing effective, easy-to-apply products. While products that are easy to apply will have maximum appeal to a wide range of women, the key challenge for brands is how to more deeply and systematically engage with users at different tiers of interest to help them become more dedicated and passionate beauty product users,” concluded Nanninga.

*Market share figures for 2014

Press copies of Mintel’s The Beauty Consumer US March 2016 report and interviews with Margie Nanninga, Beauty Analyst, are available on request from the press office.

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