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Skin Care Status Report: Emphasis Shifts to mass
Despite heavy concentration by the trade press on prestige market successes for a series of skin care products, there appears to be a growing apprciation among cosmetic industry watchers these days that mass is where the primary action has been occurring. Obviously, Lauder and Clarins and Chanel and a half dozen others continue to profit handsomely from those long, well-manned counters in department stores--though some of the exaggerated claims (at least those in print on labels or in point-of-purchase promotional material) have been toned down and pared away. But the rate of new product introduction continues, the advertising/promotion clout exercized by these big prestige marketers hasn't been eroded, and good effective advertising and verbal selling messages delivered by counter women continues to stimulate sales. The subtle difference is that mass marketers are spending more, have become more adept at developing and delivering new products, and the retail store buyers have digested the message that the skin care segment of the cosmetic business can be profitable and even exciting.
Take as an example hand and body lotions, regarded in some quarters as "toiletries" not worthy of prime attention, Don't be fooled. Chain Drug Review pegs that segment of the business in mass channels at $578 million in 1989, an increase of a whooping 8 percent over 1988. Drug chains captured 34 percent of that total, supermarkets 20 percent, discount store chains 18 percent, and food/drug combination stores 17 percent. In face creams and lotions, where sales at the mass level hit $571 million (an …