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Mar 30, 2016

Let’s Play

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When I was a little girl, I remember watching my mother’s cleansing ritual with such awe. All the jars, potions, and lotions that she slathered seemed so glamorous compared to my splash of water. When my mother purchased her skincare products, she either bought them at a drug store/supermarket or a department store. There weren’t any other choices. But Sephora took the counters down and placed the products front and center for consumers to experiment. And while makeup and its various colors and shiny bells and whistles are more commonly associated with the word “play,” 2015 has seen smaller skincare categories emerge as not only functional, but fun.

No category has benefitted more from play than masks. In 2013, masks were a small piece of the skincare face business – barely 1 percent and a $60 million sub-segment. But in the past two years, its volume has doubled*. The same attributes that at one time created apprehension in brands and retailers are the same qualities that make masks attractive to consumers. Masks are more likely to be an impulse purchase and least likely to be brand specific**. With innovative formulas and formats and a focus on results, it’s easy to find reasons to purchase a mask.

While mask growth is still impressive and in the double digits, facial cleanser’s growth, though less dramatic, has seen a positive halo effect. Most likely an extension of masks, the cleansers sub-segment has traditionally received little attention. With a low price-point and lower commitment, the industry perception is that dollars are better spent on larger sub-segments with more hefty return. Cleansers, however, have seen excitement across most channels; brick-and-mortar, online, and fine department stores are all posting strong growth. This year, we’ve seen several formats debut, create excitement, and conceivably pique the consumer’s interest.

Both masks and cleansers have brought excitement to the consumer and created an environment where the shopper wants to try the new formats and ingredients that are being reported by bloggers and reviewed online. But in order for skincare to regain steady footing, creating an in-store environment that is not only inviting but low pressure, social, and entertaining is key. Using these two entry categories to introduce your brand is a smart way to arouse interest in prospective buyers and create an inviting environment for them to have some fun.

*The NPD Group, Inc. / U.S. Prestige Beauty Total Measured Market
** The NPD Group, Inc. / Women’s Facial Skincare Consumer Report 2015


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