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Today’s 60-somethings are a far cry from the Depression-era seniors who are just a decade older. Buoyed by higher socioeconomic standing, aging boomers continue to embrace material goods, health and fashion with more fervor than their older brethren. This means big bucks for the anti-aging segment of the skincare industry.
Historically, beauty companies targeted women under 35. The older set was considered thrifty and less concerned with appearance. This has changed. According to Mintel, the $1.6 billion U.S. anti-aging skincare market grew 63 percent between 2002 and 2007. Despite the recession, Mintel predicts sales will grow an additional 20 percent over the next five years.
Anti-aging products address issues affecting the entire body. The fastest-growing area involves formulations designed to reduce or prevent the effects of aging on the lips and face, and includes men’s products, reports Kline & Company.
But the segment is erasing more than skin lines. It is crossing retail boundaries. While drug chains are making the biggest statements, supermarkets are hitting price zeniths. These channels cannot offer the same brands as department stores due to distribution restrictions. But in recent years, their suppliers have obtained many of the ingredients used in higher-end formulations.
Many prices now exceed $20. Offerings at one New Jersey supermarket included Neutrogena Anti-oxidant, Anti-age Reverse Night Cream ($19.99), Neutrogena Deep Wrinkle Moisturizer Treatment ($16.99) and Procter & Gamble’s Olay Color Recapture Anti-aging UV moisturizer ($25.49, in various shades). Publix’s director of media and community relations Maria Brous says P&G’s Olay represents the “top line of skincare.”
P&G’s hard flexing of its multimedia marketing muscles has allowed it to command these prices. “There was a good deal of hype around Olay’s Pro-X launch,” says Taya Tomasello, Mintel’s senior beauty analyst, discussing P&G’s new five SKU anti-aging “system.” “They did an online pre-sell in November 2008 and launched in January. It’s surprising to see everything doing well. Consumers trust the brand.”
Many of these lines are part of decades-old national brands that have been relaunched. Labels are recognizable; but products are not the ones used by boomers’ mothers.
P&G’s Olay debuted in the 1970s as Oil of Olay, the “Mysterious Beauty Fluid.” In the 2000s, it was relaunched as Olay Definity. Today, Olay contains anti-aging ingredients like niacinamide, peptides and glucosamine.
Unilever’s 100-year-old Ponds brand now includes Time Rewind, an overnight wrinkle repair cream, and Age DefEye, an eye area cream that reduces puffiness, fine lines and circles.
Johnson & Johnson’s Neutrogena has moved beyond residue-free soaps and shampoos into moisturizers and lightweight makeup with antioxidants. Beiersdorf Inc.’s Nivea includes Visage Q10, said to fight new and existing wrinkles. Both Neutrogena and Nivea offer men’s lines.
Experts wonder if supermarkets can climb as high as drug chains in price. CVS, for one, is bypassing department store suppliers’ moratoriums with exclusives and direct imports. Products are marketed by in-store beauty experts. Tomasello notes that Olay’s pricing has been steadily escalating.
Reading the Label
Definitions of Skincare Ingredients
• Humectants: Glycerin, sorbitol and butylene glycol hold moisture in skin, leaving it soft.
• Natural moisturizers: Lactic acid, potassium lactate, sodium PCA, collagen amino acids and urea form part of the skin’s natural moisture retention system.
• Skin lipids: Cholesterol, phospholipids and stearic acid are part of a protective barrier. They have significant moisturizing and emollient properties.
• Essential fatty acids: Soybean, sunflower, evening primrose and avocado seed oil contain important amounts of linoleic and linolenic acids. These acids are the building blocks for ceramides, which are needed for healthy lipids.
• Sunscreens: Octyl methoxy cinnamate, persol MCX and benzophenone help protect skin from ultraviolet rays.
• Vitamins/Antioxidants: Retinyl acetate, retinol or retinyl palmitate (vitamin A), panthenol (vitamin B5), ascorbic acid (vitamin C), tocopherol acetate (vitamin E), green tea extract and grapeseed oil help fight cell-damaging free radicals.
• Occlusives: Petrolatum, petroleum jelly and dimethicone aid in retaining moisture and keeping out harsh elements.