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Australian cosmetics and toiletries growth continues to slow

20-Jun-2005

The growth of the Australian cosmetics and toiletries industry has dipped for a second year in a row, mirroring growth in the general economy and the slower retail environment. But with income levels still high the latest market report suggests that the market will remain strong in the future, reports Simon Pitman.

The country's industry grew by 3.1 per cent in 2004 to reach an estimated value of AUD3.6 billion (€2.3bn), Euromonitor reports. Although the growth rate was slightly lower than that of 2003, the authors point out that this is a tailing-off of the very strong growth experienced in previous years.

Breaking the different categories down, Euromonitor's research reveals that the fastest growing sector is depilatories. The market grew by 5.5 per cent in 2004 to reach AUD32.4 billion, which is well down on the 8 per cent growth experienced in 2003, but as it still remains the smallest sector, the report's authors are tipping that it will experience further strong growth in the future.

Hair care remained the largest sector, with a 24 per cent share of total cosmetic and toiletry purchased accounting for AUD846.1 million. The sector grew by 4 per cent in 2004 which, considering the size and the maturity of the market, is considered to be a satisfactory growth.

Dividing the hair care category up, shampoos accounted for 28 per cent of all purchases, while colourants came in second, accounting for 26 per cent of the market partly as a result of an 8 per cent increase in sales.

The slowest growth was experienced in the bath and shower category, which only registered a 1.4 per cent increase to reach AUD396.3 million in 2004. Euromonitor says there were two main sub-categories that accounted for this disappointing performance, with sales of soaps and talcum powders falling 3 per cent and 1 per cent respectively.

Looking at the market as a whole, including value-added extras in products was a continuing trend adopted by manufacturers as a means of boosting sales. This proved especially relevant for mature brands, where brand lines were extended to include multi-purpose products, such as moisturizing anti-wrinkle products with SPFs built-in.

Euromonitor says that this particular trend has helped spawn a number of products bearing functionalities normally associated with premium products, such as firming agents, anti-pollution protection and age-defying ingredients. Equally, this has led to increasing competition for the prestige brands as well as a burgeoning high-end mass market category.

Company-wise, Unilever still continues to dominate the Australian cosmetics and toiletries market with an 11.4 per cent slice of the pie, closely followed by Proctor & Gamble with 11.3 per cent. This situation is put down to the companies' habit of matching one another product launch for product launch.

L'Oreal Australia had a 9.5 per cent share of the market, whereas Colgate Palmolive had a 9.3 per cent share. The rest of the market remains relatively fragmented, with 13 companies having over 2 per cent market share and no local company reaching this size. Creative Brands is the largest Australian cosmetic and toiletries company with a 1.3 per cent share.

Considering the future, Euromonitor believes that the growth of the country's industry will continue to slow, but that it will remain moderate. In the period 2004-2009, it is estimated that the compound annual growth rate will reach 2.3 per cent, which should leave the market valued at AUD4 billion in 2009.

Major growth categories will continue to include depilatories with a 4.3 per cent CAGR, followed by sun and hair care, both expected to reach 3.1 per cent CAGR.

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