No one's doing their nails at home any more

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Nail care Manicure Mintel

Women are apparently abandoning the habit of doing their nails in
the privacy of their own home in favor of professional nail care
services, a move that is hitting domestic retailers and
manufacturers not involved in the professional market.

The market for professional nail care has rocketed in recent years, up nearly $1bn since to $6.3bn during the period 2003 - 2005, according to market research provider Mintel.

Feeling the pinch are food, drug and mass merchandisers, together with prestige retailers, where sales of nail care products are said to have fallen by $20m during the same period.

According to Research and Markets, the market for retail nail color and care stood at $754 million in 2005, declining 9 per cent from the $830 million in sales during 2000.

So why are women increasingly abandoning home nail care for the professional salon?

Obviously one clear point is time. Preparing nails and then painting them takes plenty of it and for busy women juggling working and family lives, it is something they simply do not have.

The other point is that from a financial point of view, there seems to be little point in forking out an average of $6 for a bottle of nail varnish, when often as not a professional nail care visit will only cost $10.

Given the choice of a salon, with all the choice of nail styles and colors and a professional service that often take less time than doing it at home, it is not surprising that women are forsaking home nail care.

"The benefits for a woman taking care of her nails at home are quickly diminishing,"​ said Kat Fay, analyst for Mintel. "With a minimal price difference in many cases between salons and home, even a flagging economy is not stopping individuals from a manicure that was once considered an indulgence."

According to Mintel the number of professional nail care salons in the US stood at 54,000 in 2004 - a figure that is consistently growing with the proliferation of new salons on every high street and mall.

Obviously with all this competition around, this has served to keep prices low, with new salons often setting their prices very low in an effort to undercut more established businesses.

On the subject of trends in nail care, Mintel also points out that the current trends for more natural looking nails, rather than long luminous red talons, is also dictating the way the sector is evolving.

Mintel also points out that, although styles are often faddish, the move towards more natural nail care has left manufacturers scrambling to meet market demands with more subtle colors and accessories.

"The long, brightly colored nails from yesterday are being eclipsed by a much more natural look,"​ said Fay.

"Trends in the fashion industry are difficult to predict, but this less glamorous look could continue for several seasons. Manufacturers not keeping pace with products that enhance the natural beauty of nails may have difficulty finding an adequate audience in the near future."

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