The U.S. cosmetics market grew by over $1 billion in 1999. (A rate of 6.6%.) A major factor in the growth of this segment was the impact of niche lines with spa positioning. Clear divisions between categories are becoming blurred. The Spa theme now touches on virtually all product categories. Aromatherapy has gained mainstream acceptance and is present in all product categories. All categories (except Men's) experienced growth. 1999 sales (x$1,000) and growth by category broke down as follows:
|Body and Bath||$3,498||7.50%||17.00%|
Within the market there are several distinct channels of distribution/price point classifications. They are:
Of these categories Alternative accounted for the largest volume ($7,288,000,000), the largest growth rate (+8.4%) and the largest market share (36%). Broad was ranked second at $6,645,000,000 in sales, a 6.4% growth rate and a 33% share of market. Prestige was third at $6,112,000,000 in sales, a 4.5% growth rate and a 31% market share.
For the purpose of this analysis we are focusing solely on the female market. Therefore our potential customers base (for the purpose of developing projections) does not include any statistics or provisions for male consumers. We have used the demographic report for spa goers conducted by spa weekly as a basis for our assumptions. Based upon this survey the spa goer is predominantly female (85%), well educated (46% attended college), and crosses income levels (26% earn less than $35,000; 32% earn between $35,000 and $74,999 and 42% earn over $75,000).
Using this demographic as the basis for our methodology we developed our potential customer base with the following parameters: Women with some college between the ages of 25 and 65. We completely discounted women with no college, women between 18 and 25, women over 65 and the entire male population. It is estimated that the female population will grow at a rate of 5.18% annually from 2000 to 2025 (source: the U.S. census bureau). This data is for the entire United States. Of the 33,642,000 women represented between the ages of 25 and 65 who attended college, 29,293,000 (87%) reside in major CMSA's.
The cosmetics industry is in a state of flux. Traditional brands (Revlon, L'Oreal, Lancôme etc.) are viewed as old. The consumer is looking for more holistic and healing benefits from her skin care products. She is no longer content with just the appearance benefits offered by traditional brands. The Body Shop brought her an awareness of cruelty free and natural products. These initial nudges lead to today's consumer being more informed and more inquisitive about the benefits of her personal care products. Her skin crème needs to protect her from the suns damaging rays, moisturize her skin and reduce the effects of aging. She is seeking relief from the effects of a hectic 24/7 lifestyle. She has learned the benefits of herbal therapy and aromatherapy. She has either experienced or read about the benefits (both physical and emotional) of a Day Spa.
Traditionally the dynamics of the industry have favored large houses because they can fund the major advertising and marketing campaigns associated with this industry. Today an underground (or gorilla) marketing effort can be more effective in gaining credibility with this market segment. In the past the volume of product required to produce a batch, and the cost of producing packaging have favored the larger players. Today, technology has evolved to allow the efficient production of small batches. Packaging resources exist that allow for efficient cost controls and rapid delivery of these components. In brief, the advantages of size that created barriers to entry for new players have been swept aside. The cosmetic giants still hold a dominant position in this industry and they will most likely continue to. But they have realized the need to acquire new brands and to keep their affiliation in the background. LVMH and Lauder have done an excellent job of identifying emerging brands and acquiring them.
In recent years names like MAC, Bloom, Bliss, NARS, Fresh and Kiehl's have been acquired. This strategy indicates that a few of the traditional big players recognize the benefits, for themselves and the industry, of emerging niche brands. Add to this equation the growth of the day spa industry in the United States over the last 20 years. In 1980 there were 25 day spas in America. By 1990 that number had risen to 200. Today there are over 3,000 day spas in the U.S. and 300 in Canada. Americans are beginning to understand the benefits and pleasures of taking care of themselves.
Because we will develop our brand image and market positioning primarily through our skin care line, we will focus our competitive review on that segment of the market. The skin care market is very broad. It includes products labeled as body crème that range in price from $10 for a five-ounce container to over $300 an ounce. Our market positioning will be in the lower price quadrant of high quality natural products.
Our primary competitors for this customer are:
Kiehl's: Founded in 1851, this brand has an image that is well established with the consumer. Their main strength has been that the products work. Kiehl's has been a family business for four generations. The products are being made in small batches in a New York City facility. They have a wide and varied distribution strategy. Their packaging and labeling is very clinical in appearance. In recent years the brand has experienced almost geometric growth. This has caused them serious internal problems. They have been unable to meet demand and have stopped adding customers. In spring 2000 Estee Lauder acquired them. According to internal sources Lauder will move the manufacturing to OEM facilities and shut down the internal capabilities. They plan to focus growth on traditional department stores and on a roll out of Kiehl's own stores. The obvious plus of this marriage is the availability of cash and technical resources. The potential risk is that Lauder will associate the brand closely with Department stores and that the OEM manufacturing will result in the changing of certain formulas and a reduction in product effectiveness.
Aveda: Founded in 1978 by Horst Rechelbacher (an artist), Aveda has become synonymous with quality hair-care products and salons. They are distributed, worldwide, by over 3,000 Aveda salons. It has nurtured a well-defined image and secured a very effective distribution network. Aveda salons are a combination of licensed properties and company owned locations. Their product philosophy is centered in Ayurveda healing and aromatherapy. Recently Estee Lauder acquired them.
Clinique: Clinique was launched in 1968 with skin care and makeup products that are all allergy tested and fragrance free. Clinique products are marketed as part of a three-step system: cleanse, exfoliate and moisturize. The products are marketed primarily through department stores. In recent years their image has become dated. Clinique makes a significant amount of their sales through "bonus week" at department stores. The 18 to 35 crowd does not consider them current and their product development hasn't kept pace with changing consumer awareness. Clinique is a division of Estee Lauder.
Fresh: Fresh distributes body and skin care products through their own stores, a consumer catalogue and wholesales globally to department and specialty stores. Their products are more "fashion" influenced than treatment based. They currently have two stores in New York City and one in Boston. Their target market is younger and less affluent than Bluespas'.
Essential Elements: A former stock analyst started essential Elements in 1995. The products are botanical based natural body crèmes and lotions. They are distributed primarily through day spas and specialty stores. Informed sources say they will be launching a consumer catalogue. Their main target for increasing distribution is through day spas and resorts.
Because Bluespa is a combined retail (direct to end user) and wholesale (to the end user through a reseller) strategy our target customer must be broken into two distinct groups, the end user and the reseller.
Our targeted end user is between the ages of 24 and 65. They are urban professionals with at least some college. This consumer has an active lifestyle. They are concerned about social and environmental issues. Mind and body wellness are important to them. They belong to a health club; take yoga, pilate's or tai chi lessons. The effects of aging and the maintenance of a youthful appearance are a part of their life. A recent survey conducted by The American Spa Industry revealed the following demographic for day spa goers: 85% are female, 46% have some college and 39% are college graduates, 63% are married, 32% have an annual income between $45,000 and $74,999, 40% have income above $74,999 and 26% have incomes below 45,000, 47% are between 34 and 52 years of age.
They are predominantly female. They are well educated. Between 1993 and 1998 20% more BAs and MBAs were awarded to women than men. Women received 59% of all associate degrees, 55% of bachelor degrees, 53% of masters' degrees and 40% of doctoral degrees earned in the United States. Today college campuses are over 60% female. The buying power of this segment of the market continues to grow. There are currently over 109 million female consumers. Their buying power is estimated at $4.4 trillion. (In comparison, the junior market is estimated at $100 billion). In 1997 64% of working women earned more than one half of the family income. Today, businesses owned by women generate over $3.6 trillion in annual sales. Of the net increase in the workforce between 1992 and 2005, 62% are projected to be women. In retail the female consumer is the primary decision maker in 85% of households. Women buy or influence the purchase of 80% of consumer goods. Their increasing educational attainment makes young women even more sophisticated and demanding consumers.
Today's female consumer is living a transactional life with multiple constituencies. Her life is on fast forward. In the last few years the sales of anxiety drugs to this consumer has surpassed the sales of anti-depressants. Her definitions are shifting, blurring the lines between home and office; private and public; professional and casual; even male and female. Age has become irrelevant. Life stages are no longer defined cleanly by age. (A 44-year-old first-time mother has much in common with a 22-year-old first-time mother.) Links between generations and mindsets are becoming very spread out. Today's female consumer defines herself more by mindset or approach to life than by age. Parents and teens are often on parallel treadmills. The older segment is interested in staying young and the younger segment is acting older.
In addition there has been a democratization of luxury. The upper-class family group is massive. More than eight million households have incomes above $100,000. Luxury spending is growing four times faster than overall spending. Working women of all ages have more money and they are spending it on personal luxuries. This is a reaction to the chaos of 24/7 consumerism. She'll buy, but she wants more than just another product. She is not seeking empowerment--she is empowered. She is choosing to take better care of herself and others. She is looking for peace, solutions and fulfillment. Purchasing has moved beyond price. The Price:Value ratio has become more meaningful. She is seeking a "value added" experience or product. Our strategy of combined channels of distribution allows us to fit into her schedule while our product philosophy provides her with the benefits she is seeking.
Our target customers (vs. end user) for wholesale distribution will be resellers who recognize the needs of this consumer and who she identifies with. We have used the term resellers because they will not be limited to retailers. We will reach the consumer through four distinct reseller channels.
The U.S. cosmetics market (measured in shipments from manufacturers) grew by over $1 billion last year. (A rate of 6.6%.) A major factor in the growth of this segment was the impact of niche lines with spa positioning. Clear divisions between categories are becoming blurred. Spa theming now touches on several product categories. Aromatherapy has become mainstream and is present in all product categories. All categories (except Men's) experienced growth. The categories are:
Within the market there are several distinct channels of distribution/price point classifications. They are:
Of these categories Alternative accounted for the largest volume ($7,288,000,000), the largest growth rate (+8.4%) and the largest market share (36%). Broad, was ranked second at $6,645,000,000 in sales, a 6.4% growth rate and a 33% share of market. Prestige was third at $6,112,000,000 in sales, a 4.5% growth rate and a 31% market share. The very narrow spread between Prestige and Broad is indicative of the consumers desire for quality products rather than price point driven creams and lotions.
The growth of the Body and Bath category and the Alternate channels is being driven by three major market influences:
Today's skin care customer is looking for magic. She wants to believe that there is a potion in a bottle that will erase her wrinkles. Consumers spent a record $11 billion on skin care alone in 1999. Approximately $3.6 billion (32.7%) of that was spent on upscale creams. The baby boomers, who don't want to age without putting up a fight, have been spurring this growth. But even men and women in their early 30's have been turning to expensive creams and lotions. Most manufacturers believe this is being driven primarily by vanity.
At Bluespa we believe it is a result of a better-educated consumer base and easier access to information. We believe that you only need to look at the proliferation of personal trainers, gyms, spas and yoga schools, the awareness of vitamins and the benefits of eating and living healthy for both mind and body. These indicators are not unrelated and we believe they signal a change in values and lifestyle rather than just a fashion trend. While it may well have been spurred on by the growth in the stock market and the general economy, we do not believe that it is dependent upon the continued rapid growth of these factors. Once the consumer has recognized the benefits of these products they will not be willing to simply give them up.
The two major growth categories within these segments are face creams and anti-aging creams. In face creams the hottest "new" product is Crème de la Mer. This crème was formulated from, Alfalfa, Citrus, Kelp and Vitamins by a NASA physicist to heal scared tissues. A five-ounce bottle costs $1,000. In interviews women have described it as "magical." Demand for these products is so high that retailers have begun to limit the quantity a customer can buy. When the cream was introduced in Hong Kong last September there was a waiting list of more than 500 people. When Sisley, another high-end facial crème, hit the shelves at Saks in San Francisco (at $300 per ounce) the store had trouble keeping it in stock according to the cosmetics manager.
Certainly these are not your mothers' facial creams. This new generation of creams is more scientifically advanced than anything previous manufacturers brought to market. Research has shown that alpha hydroxy acids, retinol and anti-oxidants can smooth out wrinkles and even out irregular pigmentation. Other natural ingredients can speed up the regeneration process of skin cells, tone the skin, clarify the complexion, and reduce wrinkles as well. Even the legendary firm La Prairie, who pioneered sheep placenta in its formula and has women flying to Europe to use it, has begun to shift formulation to vitamins, anti-oxidants and herbal extracts.
Many manufacturers site the high cost of research as a major reason for the high price of their products. However this "new" trend is more a returning to age old, time proven, natural remedies than new science. One noted chemist and cosmetics researcher recently stated that charging more than $100 for a vial (ounce) of any serum is unwarranted. She stated that while there are some very special ingredients that are costly, when prices go above this level it is just maxing out snob appeal. When you combine these facts with the rapidly increasing level of consumer education and the demand for a price-value equation, you can begin to see the market niche that is developing for high-quality skin care at price points reflective of their ingredients and value.