Nail care companies shine in tough category

The nail care category has been showing a slightly dull finish lately. Though it might seem that the at-home manicure and pedicure market should be thriving, as polishing one’s nails is a small, fun indulgence that is easier than making an appointment at a nail salon, and less expensive.

It also is a great way to try new nail polish colors and nail accessories, of which there are plenty as manufacturers introduce new ways to make nails dazzle.

However, the nail care category has stalled. According to Mintel, in its “Nail Color and Care – U.S. January 2018” report, sales of nail color and care products have been on the decline since 2014 and are expected to decrease through 2022, “as nail products aren’t currently on-trend.” That seems counterintuitive as consumer confidence is high, a factor that usually translates to increased sales. Even salon visits are stagnant, Mintel reported, because women are generally spending less time and money on their nails.

As for reasons for the slowdown, Mintel pointed to consumers’ increased worry about the effects of frequent polishing and chemicals used in nail products. On the bright side, demand for other items, including such restorative products as nail treatments, skin care-related items, and even vitamins and other solutions exist. Another area manufacturers should tap into, the report said, is in products that appeal to Hispanic women, who over-index in special-effect polish and nail art accessories. “While the current nail color and care market is suffering from the cyclical nature of trends, there are still opportunities to innovate in the category and boost engagement,” the report authors wrote.

Premium Is Still Strong

A number of manufacturers said certain segments within nail care are performing well as women are looking for specific features in the category. “Artificial/fashion nails continue to post double-digit sales increases,” said Annette DeVita-Goldstein, senior vice president of global marketing at Port Washington, N.Y.-based Kiss Products. “This is in sharp contrast to ongoing declines in traditional nail polish.” DeVita-Goldstein added that women are seeking new and convenient ways to have beautiful nails. “High-design nails are the big trend. This feeds into the women’s desire for individuality, self-expression and a little more boldness with their beauty routines,” she said.

To answer this demand, Kiss is expanding its flagship brand imPRESS, which offers a one-step press-on gel manicure. The brand is launching a new formula and design upgrade with its new Ultra Fit Design, which the company said is a slimmer yet stronger nail. The new imPRESS looks more natural, hugs the natural nail, and is designed to be comfortable to wear. Also new is the imPRESS pedicure, a press-on product that enables the user to have a pedicure in minutes.

Kiss also is launching Masterpiece, a premium fashion nail brand. The company said the line offers the most sophisticated high-fashion nails in the super trendy coffin and stiletto lengths. Each nail kit features 30 nails and 12 accent nails, showcasing intricate luxe designs and effects. Each kit also offers the option to apply the nails either with glue for a longer wear or adhesive tabs for shorter-term wear.

The trends are driven by consumers’ desire to experiment. “Newness in design, effects, function, application and overall innovation will continue to be a growth engine in beauty and in nail care in particular,” DeVita-Goldstein said. “As the DIY trend remains strong, providing women the ability to deliver professional results at home and no longer outsource their beauty routines is certainly a key trend we see continuing for the next few years.”

Other Trends

According to Nielsen, during the 12-month period ended Sept. 22, health and beauty care overall had 2% dollar growth and 0.2% volume growth across total U.S. outlets combined. That 2% all-outlet growth for health and beauty equates to an increase of $1.6 billion in revenue compared with the same period the previous year. However,
the story in grocery and drug is a bit less rosy. Also, according to Nielsen, health and beauty care have seen unit volume declines of 1% across U.S. grocery stores and 2% across drug stores. Nielsen attributed the decline to consumers’ greater reliance on such value channels as dollar, club and mass merchandise for health and beauty products. Cosmetics and nail grooming struggled to find growth, the report said.

One related area that is showing strength is vitamins connected to nail care and other beauty categories. Perfectil, a brand from the U.K., recently made its U.S. debut in Walgreens. The beauty vitamin announced in September that supermodel and TV personality Heidi Klum will serve as its U.S. brand ambassador.

Perfectil, which is made by Vitabiotics, is available in Perfectil Original, Perfectil Plus Skin, Perfectil Plus Hair, Perfectil Plus Nails and Perfectil Max. Perfectil Plus Nails contains extra selenium, which the company said contributes to the maintenance of normal nails; copper, which contributes to the maintenance of normal connective tissue; horsetail botanical extract, or equisetum arvense L., which is a natural source of silica; and methyl sulphonyl methane, which provides sulfur, an important nutrient found in the outer layer of the skin, hair and nails.

“It’s been a great start gaining distribution in over 6,500 stores nationwide with our brand Perfectil,” Perfectil/Vitabiotics CEO Tej Lalvani said of the Walgreens
launch. “It’s an exciting time as we begin to ramp up our cross-channel marketing program nationally.”

Lalvani added that the brand is very on-trend right now as consumers have health and wellness on their minds. “Consumers are looking for supplements that are credible and have the latest scientific ingredients backing the formulation while being an easy addition into their lifestyles,” he said. Retailers can succeed in the category by bringing in innovative products. “Retailers and suppliers need to work together to provide the right customer experience in store while communicating brand values and product unique selling propositions.”
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