Some believe one gauge of telling just how far the economy has fallen is the “lipstick index.” This economic term—which was coined after sales of Estee Lauder’s lipsticks surged following the September 11 terrorist attacks—is based on the dual idea that people care about their appearance as much, if not more, during troubled economic times, but that they will trade expensive luxuries for less-expensive ones when their purses are pinched. “When people are feeling bad about the economy, they don’t want to compound things by looking bad, too,” said Denise DeBaun, president and CEO of Sustainable Youth Technologies, a new company that makes organic and natural nutricosmetics and cosmeceuticals. “And more and more, people are looking for natural and organic alternatives to conventional cosmetic and skincare products, especially if they can get the same level of performance and efficacy without the synthetic ingredients.”
DeBaun appears to be onto something. According to Nutrition Business Journal’s latest market estimates, sales of natural & organic personal care (N&OPC) products continued to grow in 2008—even though these goods represent what Hain Celestial Group Executive Vice President and CEO John Carroll calls “down the drain products.” U.S. consumer sales of N&OPC products—which NBJ classifies as including everything from cosmetics and hair-care items to deodorants and shaving supplies—grew 8.4% to $7.9 billion in 2008. Growth did slow considerably last year compared to 2007, when N&OPC sales shot up 16.8% to $7.3 billion. But it wasn’t just the economy that dragged down the category’s sales expansion. In fact, NBJ attributes much of this category’s slower growth in 2008 to simple maturation. N&OPC sales soared by double digits between 2004 and 2007, and their slowdown reflects what has occurred in other nutrition industry categories, including natural & organic foods and beverages.
“Personal care is not yet seeing a downward trend,” agreed Lynea Schultz-Ela, owner of natural products consulting firm A Natural Resource. “These products are still considered affordable luxuries, and consumers are not trading out of natural and organic. They are, however, becoming more selective about and demanding of the products they do buy.”
Nutrition Business Journal’s Natural & Organic Personal Care issue, which publishes this month, provides an in-depth look at the U.S. N&OPC and household product market. Along with detailing NBJ’s 2008 N&OPC sales estimates by category and channel, this issue includes an overview and analysis of the most significant mergers & acquisitions and investments in the N&OPC sector in 2008; discussion of the efforts by the Natural Products Association and others to create standards for natural and organic personal care products; an overview of the green cleaning market in the wake of the launch of Clorox’s Green Works line in early 2008; profiles of Yes to Carrots, BeeCeuticals and Nestle’s Glowelle “beauty from within” drink; and much more.
To order a copy of the issue, subscribe to NBJ or download a free sample issue of the journal, go to www.nutritionbusinessjournal.com.
NBJ subscribers can read more of our coverage of the N&OPC market: