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Whether throwing it in a gym bag or using during the commute, travel-friendly skincare formats are making a splash with US women. New research from Mintel reveals the skincare formats that US female skincare users are most likely to have tried or are interested in trying include on-the-go products, such as exfoliating wipes (81 percent), waterless facial cleansers (69 percent) and sunscreen sticks (68 percent).

Value remains a top priority when it comes to skincare routines, with consumers willing to pay more for products that give them the best bang for their buck. Three in 10 female skincare users are willing to pay more for products with built-in applicators, dual packaging (ie contains multiple products) (30 percent respectively) or that are refillable (29 percent).

“Consumer focus on health and wellness is inspiring a burgeoning trend in beauty with innovative, on-the-go formats. In addition to wanting skincare that satisfies their specific needs, convenience enables skincare consumers to streamline their routines, a benefit they are willing to spend for. Brands that offer quick and easy-to-use formats that make the most out of beauty routines while traveling, such as waterless facial cleansers and portable sunscreen sticks, will do well with consumers as they seek out more convenient products,” said Alison Gaither, Beauty and Personal Care Analyst at Mintel.

When it comes to purchasing skincare products, back to basics is best as simple usage instructions (58 percent) and short ingredient lists (53 percent) rank as the most important packaging features for female skincare users. This is especially true among older women as those aged 55+ are more likely than their younger counterparts to prioritize simple usage instructions (66 percent vs 46 percent of 18-34s) and short ingredient lists (58 percent vs 49 percent of 18-34s).

The use of the probiotic Lactobacillus in skincare products in the US grew 98% from 2013-17.

Natural ingredients can serve as a way to set products apart. Mintel research reveals that more than two in five skincare users are interested in skincare products that contain clay (42 percent) or apple cider vinegar (41 percent). While known for their ability to improve gut health, probiotics are also on the rise for their skincare benefits, with 38 percent of female skincare consumers interested in probiotics as a skincare ingredient. This interest is reflected in new product development in recent years, as the use of the probiotic Lactobacillus in skincare products in the US grew 98 percent from 2013-17, according to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD).

“The familiarity of food-based ingredients in skincare is appealing to consumers who want to understand what exactly is in the products they use; along with this we’re seeing the concept of natural beauty ingredients expand, as highlighted in Mintel’s 2018 Global Beauty & Personal Care Trend ‘Playing Mother Nature.’ What started as a fun trend driven by experimental and adventurous young consumers has evolved into a movement toward healthy beauty, natural ingredients and environmental awareness. Growing interest in probiotics in skincare could mean more interest in ferments as a whole. Fermented ingredients, though currently of less interest to consumers, could become more appealing in the future as probiotics move into mainstream skincare products,” continued Gaither. “A focus on sustainability is the next movement in natural beauty, with brands using oils and plant waters in lieu of actual water to preserve resources.”

Facial cleansers command the highest share of US facial skincare sales, claiming 19 percent of the category, and are estimated to grow 5.4 percent in 2017 to reach $2.1 billion. In fact, facial cleansers will continue to drive the category as sales are forecast to grow 24 percent through 2021.

However, as the line between facial makeup and facial skincare blurs and skincare staples address multiple concerns, specialty skincare products are being put back on the shelves. Mintel research shows that sales of facial anti-aging products (16 percent market share) are estimated to decline 3 percent in 2017 to reach $1.8 billion, while acne treatments (8 percent market share) are estimated to decline 1.5 percent to reach $9.1 million.

“The skincare market is highly saturated, and brands are challenged by consumer demand for simplicity, as well as routine shopping behavior which is limiting product trial. Focusing on unique offerings to capture the attention of consumers, such as Korean skincare trends and on-the-go formats, could nurture category growth. Eco-ethical claims will also continue to rise, and familiar, food-inspired ingredients such as apple cider vinegar and Manuka honey will support the natural trend. The movement to embrace aging will continue to give multi-benefit products an advantage over specialty products, while no-rinse options, such as micellar waters, will encourage consumers to use a larger repertoire of cleansing products, further boosting segment growth,” concluded Gaither.

Press copies of Mintel’s Skincare Ingredient and Format Trends US 2017 report and interviews with Alison Gaither, Beauty and Personal Care Analyst, are available on request from the press office.