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2017 Beauty Outlook, Part 2: Is Skincare Over the Hill?

Dec 22, 2016
Karen Grant, Senior Vice President, Global Industry Analyst ;
Beauty

What happened? The experts and pundits declared it.  They thought, “This is a no-brainer.” Every woman cares about these issues! This is the women’s platform, and men care, too. “Who’s got the experience?” they derided. We’ve got this, right? Wrong.

The losses of skincare have put beauty constructs and our long-held beliefs in something of a tailspin. Is skincare defeated? For 2017, the answer is yes, but at the same time the answer is no.

What is defeated? It’s the singular focus on anti-aging. While this spectrum of products is still relevant and necessary, it no longer rules the mindshare of the overwhelming number of skincare shoppers. In the majority of countries tracked by NPD, the weak results of 2015 further eroded in 2016. In the U.S., internet sales account for all category growth as brick-and-mortar stores post ongoing declines in skincare sales. Anti-aging, once the powerhouse and the go-to authority of beauty’s future, faces reinvention or potential generational irrelevance.

What is not defeated? Care. Primary care and prevention bond with makeup preparation to offset the losses from the continued declines in anti-aging. The little categories once ignored or overlooked are now the giants of growth in facial skincare, as consumers turn to lip treatment, masks, complexion treatment products, and others for solutions and quick fixes. Expect formats to expand and increase in importance. There will also be new attention on the once overlooked category of sun care and high SPF products, as this works in tandem with the growing awareness of prevention. And, the adornment in hair care will only grow in importance to meet appearance needs. 

Is skincare relevant? Will skincare ever rise again? The glimmers we already see in the mass market say a definitive yes! Far from over the hill, skincare, with a new focus and messaging to meet the needs of the broader consumer base, will rise to see a new day.

NPD Partners: