Private label and natural beauty benefit from scaled-back spending habits, says Kline


US consumer attitudes to spending remain cautious post-recession

Post-recession consumers in the US hold new attitudes to consumer goods, with the buying on credit mentality that has held sway for several years being replaced by a more frugal, practical consumer approach to spending, according to research specialist Kline.

Kline says the new values are not only driven by economic forces but by a greater awareness of environmental issues and sustainability. As a result the research company has identified two C&T sectors that are benefiting from this new set of attitudes.

Following aggressive marketing campaigns by retailers to bring their products inline with branded merchandise, sales of private label personal care products jumped 6% in 2009, compared with an overall market decline of 0.8%. As a result branded manufacturers have scaled back on domestic advertising, instead focusing on growing international markets.

The growth in natural personal care products has also continued through the recession, with the growing consumer awareness of natural raw ingredients helping the sector grow 12% and pushing global sales past $18bn. Brazil and Asia have been the seen the most significant growth due to their large populations and natural and herbal heritage. Interest in the environment and sustainability has also grown, with areas such as reducing waste, packaging and energy consumption becoming more prevalent in marketing and communications.

Kline adds that the professional skin and hair market has suffered from a more edited approach to spending with the focus shifting away from prestige to more purse-friendly products and indulgences, resulting in a dramatic drop off in spa and salon visits, and a subsequent drop in demand for cosmetic procedures and take-home products. The internet and home-shopping channels have taken some of this share as consumers look for discounted pricing on their favourite premium products. However early indications show that interest in the professional channel rebounded at the beginning of 2010.