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Markets & trends

USA: Ultra-gentle skincare products on the rise

US consumers are increasingly interested in cosmetic products formulated for sensitive skins. According to Mintel, sensitive skin claims represent a quarter of new US launches in 2014.

U.S. consumers are highly interested in ultra-gentle skincare products and, consistently, the whole category is shifting toward more products positioned as gentle or appropriate for sensitive skin. According to Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD), sensitive skin claims represent 25% of total skincare claims thus far in 2014 [1], compared to 15% in 2009. Furthermore, 71% of facial skincare users say they are interested in ultra-gentle products.

Sales trends also reflect this move towards gentle skincare products. Mintel estimates that sales of sensitive / gentle skincare products are more than USD 202 million (EUR 148 million), with the majority of sales coming from the facial cleanser and facial moisturizer segments. Sensitive and gentle skincare products are also capturing a greater percentage of facial cleanser and moisturizer sales.

Pared down approach

While facial skincare products have typically highlighted the addition of ingredients such as vitamins and botanicals, the category appears to be moving toward highlighting what’s not in the formula - fragrance, dyes, etc.,” says Shannon Romanowski, Senior Beauty and Personal Care Analyst at Mintel. “This move toward gentle skincare is a reflection of consumers’ desire for performance combined with increased concern and awareness regarding what is being put on their skin.

Consumers seem to be big fans of the pared down approach, as almost a quarter (24%) of facial skincare users say they look for products with natural, organic ingredients. 22% seek out products that are free from certain ingredients like parabens or fragrances and 21% are interested in items that are designed specifically for sensitive skin.

While future growth is expected to remain slow, there are opportunities for more customized and convenience-driven product options. Value-added products that enhance health and wellness, extend usage occasions, or tap into the convenience-driven mindset of male and multicultural shoppers stand to gain,” adds Shannon Romanowski. “In addition, a consumer shift toward gentle skincare benefits also reflects an opportunity, especially among women and Black consumers.

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