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Mintel: U.S. sales of beauty products to grow 3% through 2020


NEW YORK -- A majority of women say they get a boost of self-esteem from using beauty products, and sales of these products are projected to grow 3% a year through 2020, new research from Mintel shows.

A new report from MIntel, "The Beauty Consumer - U.S. - March 2016," shows that the reasons for using beauty products vary among 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 U.S. female beauty consumers (71%) agree that it’s important to always look their best when leaving the house. What’s more, 69% say that they get a boost of self esteem from using beauty products.

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

Total U.S. 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 around 3%. What’s more, the beauty category is dominated by three segments, with color cosmetics making up 31% of market share, followed by hair care (24%) and facial skin care (21%).

“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 U.S. 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.

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%) find the number of options when shopping for products overwhelming. However, more than half (57%) find pleasure in shopping for beauty products and nearly two thirds (63%) 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%). This is especially true for millennial female beauty consumers with 37% looking to product reviews, compared to 32% of female beauty consumers overall. What’s more, one quarter of female millennials who use beauty products (25%) get their information from beauty blogs as compared to just 16% 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,” said Nanninga.

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

“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,” Nanninga said.

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