No more false starts: Natural care on the rise
If retailers had a dollar for every time they’ve heard the natural and organic boom is coming, they’d be able to retire wealthy. Indeed, natural and organic beauty has had many fits and starts since the 1970s. News flash: This time it is the real deal. Propelled by technology ensuring efficacious products, along with a new generation of ingredient-obsessed consumers, the opportunity is finally real.
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Retailers including Target, Walgreens, CVS and Ulta Beauty are among those taking notice, carving out more space for naturally positioned lines. Walgreens, for example, helped Yes To products gain traction and is now offering the Boots’ organic line Botanics. Ulta Beauty even offers The Body Shop’s natural products in select stores.
Target has been at the forefront of the movement, adding such natural hair collections as SoCozy and its Made to Matter program, which showcases sustainable, natural and organic lines across the store. “We continue to hear from guests that they’re interested in more natural beauty and personal care products,” said Christina Hennington, SVP of health and beauty at Target, adding the inclusion of those lines “differentiate” the chain.
At the recent National Association of Chain Drug Stores Total Store Expo, such natural brands as Dr. Hauschka Skin Care, Love + Toast and So Fresh So Clean Green Tea Facial Mask were among the most bustling booths.
According to research from Kline & Co, global sales of natural personal care products escalated 10% last year and constitute about 12% of the market. Kline forecasted sales of the segment would increase at a compound annual growth rate of almost 10% through 2019.
Nielsen’s James Russo, SVP global consumer insights, earmarked natural as one of the biggest avenues to provide growth for mass market beauty, especially to compete against online, department and specialty competitors.
A lack of a universal seal to verify claims has been a barrier to natural in the United States. But experts said consumers are cutting through the clutter on their own. “Shoppers today go to websites and chat rooms. They know more about ingredients than ever before, and come in well-educated,” said Shawn Tavakoli, owner of the Beauty Collection, a five-store beauty retailer in Southern California. And in stores, said Marcia Gaynor, DMM prestige global and exclusively owned brands for Walgreens, consumers want to see all the ingredients clearly listed on packages. Additionally, shoppers were previously disappointed with performance of former natural lines, but technology has improved the quality, experts said.
The next wave of natural brands is expected to come from the earth — literally. Amy Marks-McGee, founder of Trendincite, said the industry is mirroring the farm-to-table movement with farm-to-beauty. Her proof is the use of coconut, mushrooms, matcha, coriander and chia. Another emerging trend: skin care with snail gel.
Some experts also see the rise of “clean beauty.” More environmentally aware shoppers, especially millennials, want total transparency on ingredients in beauty. Such chains as Walmart geared up for this consumer with policies that phased out certain chemicals in formulas. Target has its Sustainable Product Standard that awards scores from a low of zero to a high of 100 to products based on ingredients. CVS has eliminated parabens and formaldehyde releasers in baby care products, and has a tool to help suppliers register ingredients.
Grooming gear helps keep beards in check
GLENDALE HEIGHTS, Ill. — While watching the amount of men with facial hair expand by double digits since 2008, Howard Brauner, VP of new product development at Universal Beauty Products, saw an opportunity in the market.
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“There were relatively no products for taking care of beards,” Brauner said. “It was really an online cottage industry.” On the other hand, there was swelling demand for beard oils and balms for styling. “The problem was there were so many different suppliers online, each with different oils, that there was confusion,” he added.
But with some studies showing that beards can be dirtier than toilets, Brauner knew he was onto something. The result was Beard Guyz, a complete regimen for beard care. The lineup includes Daily Wash 35 (the total number of ingredients in the formula), Deep Conditioner 25, Balm for Course Hair, Balm for Fine to Medium Hair and Beard Oil 25. The ingredients are high quality, natural and organic. All SKUs are priced at $14.99. The company plans to add a fragrance next year.
“Men want to see their choices and not just be forced to buy what is on shelves,” Brauner said.
Grooming options for facial hair grow
Move over metrosexuals and lumbersexuals. The new guy in town is a spornosexual. He’s buff, isn’t afraid to admit to using moisturizers and has the confidence to make his own decisions about facial hair. He might grow out a beard during No-Shave November and go sleek the next month.
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Facial hair, according to Steven Yde, VP marketing at Wahl Clipper, is an expression of style for more than 65% of men. Ten years ago, the average male shaved five times per week. Now, that’s down to two to three, he noted.
The confluence of several factors — the drop in shaving incidence, enhancements in blades so they last longer and growth of such online shaving clubs as Harry’s and Dollar Shave — have put a nick in sales.
According to data from IRI for the 52-week period ended Aug. 9, the blade category is off 2.5% to $2.5 billion in all mass units tracked. Cartridges took the biggest hit — down almost 6%. The razor category still generates healthy volume with sales up more than 7% thanks to such innovative items as the Flexiball razors from the Gillette Fusion franchise. Shaving cream eked out a 1.2% increase.
Retailers and manufacturers plan to inject new life into sales with products adding value, better assortments in men’s grooming boutiques and wider price options. And some think the tide is changing on facial hair preferences. Michael Law, senior director for customer strategy and planning at Edgewell Personal Care formerly Energizer), noted facial hairstyles are cyclic. “We believe we have passed the peak beard facial hair trend,” he said.
No matter what the future delivers, hair and no hair both require some form of maintenance. Chains can no longer rely on making margins on shavers and driving volume and traffic with cartridges. The time is right for fresh thinking.
Although women account for a healthy slice of shaver sales, men are making 85% of their shaving decisions, Law noted. Those men are critical, according to James Russo, SVP global consumer insights at Nielsen, because the men’s market represents “low-hanging fruit” to help merchants offset sluggish personal care sales. Just adding blades with the latest gimmick isn’t enough to build sales anymore.
Law suggested, “Retailers need to ask themselves, ‘Is my merchandising set up to convert these important shoppers.’”
One area to combat the migration to online clubs is to broaden pricing. Offering more value can diminish online claims of keener pricing. Building a cohesive and easy-to-shop men’s department also is paramount because men don’t like to traverse many aisles, suppliers said. H-E-B is heralded for creating its Man Cave approach. Rite Aid received a nod for a new ramped-up men’s department with prices for every shopper’s budget.
For their part, manufacturers are doing more to tap into demand for shaving to be part of overall skin care. Schick Xtreme3 razor cartridge, for example, has a larger lubrication strip with vitamin E, aloe and shea butter.
Even the move to facial hair requires special products. Bic’s Flex 5 was designed with beards in mind and has a precision-edging blade. Retailers also said they’ve seen an uptick in groomers and trimmers for men looking for all-over hair removal. And, there’s growing demand for shaving creams using more skin care ingredients.
Beyond just launching new items, marketers are taking competition head on. Gillette recently improved its own direct shave club, which offers a shave plan, as well as an option to just receive rewards. Wahl takes to the streets to educate consumers with its 40-ft. mobile barbershop, which travels the country interacting with consumers. Education, Yde said, is especially crucial with millennials who seek authenticity.
Law noted the mass market is still the “go-to” channel for shaving. “Retailers have tremendous strength in their current assortments to compete on value versus shave clubs, but they aren’t fully communicating this,” he suggested. “If you don’t convert men in your shaving category, you don’t have the opportunity to convert them in other segments of grooming to gain bigger baskets and a greater share of wallet.”
Shaving is the gateway to building other men’s grooming category sales, especially skin care. Seizing that opportunity is an up-and-coming brand, Bee Bald. Calling it more than shaving items for bald men, founder Dennis Fisher sees it as a line to deliver incremental volume. “When I created the line, I was looking to provide quality products, for both my face and head, that I would buy and use myself. Our products are used and enjoyed by men with and without hair, as well as women,” he said. The latest is a new moisturizer with SPF 30.