Ethnic Beauty Goes Mainstream

March 8, 2010
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Although many marketers treat ethnic beauty care as an afterthought, rolling out a few darker-tinted SKUs of makeup or a hair relaxer or two, the nearly $3 billion segment managed mid-single-digit sales gains even during the darkest days of the recession. During the recovery, however, the category is expected to resume double-digit growth, piquing the interest of the industry's elite.

But according to a new report from Rockville, Md.-based Packaged Facts, the makers of ethnic beauty care products would be wise to position their products more broadly, using a strategy that blurs the line between ethnic-specific and general market.

"In 2010, there is a strong trend to position beauty products multiculturally. That is, not only to the three principal minorities, consisting of Hispanics, African-Americans and Asians, but also to Arabs, Native Americans, South Asians, and others," said Don Montuori, Packaged Facts’ publisher. "A strength of using the term 'multicultural' is that products carrying the label can be marketed to everybody, including Caucasians."

The ability to market beauty products to Caucasians, as well as consumers of other backgrounds, is particularly important for U.S.-based companies that hope to sell internationally, where the term "ethnic" doesn't have the same meaning as it does in the states, Packaged Facts said.

In fact, in much of the rest of the world, the majority of people have darker skin tones, and Whites are the minority, the company continued. Even in the United States, which is currently home to 100 million "persons of color," the term is expected to become antiquated in coming decades as the “ethnic nation” becomes the majority sometime around 2042.

For more information or to purchase a copy of the report, visit

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