Black and Asian women ‘ignored’ by beauty firms

Ethnic consumers are forgotten by the beauty industry according to the latest research from Mintel. It says black and Asian consumers are not being adequately catered for by cosmetics and beauty brands, which need to invest in rebranding and advertising to woo consumers.

Mintel says the UK market for ethnic cosmetics and toiletries has grown by 24% since 2002, but is worth less than 2% of the overall beauty market.

Ethnic cosmetic brands account for around £65m of the £3.7bn UK beauty market. The research group says the beauty industry is failing to meet the needs of modern Britain, where 10% of the population is of black or Asian origin.

It adds that a lack of investment on new product development and advertising has held back growth in the UK. It says the sector would also benefit from updating its advertising and packaging. The sector spent just £150,000 on advertising last year compared to £45m overall in 2005.

Mintel senior consumer Alexandra Richmond says: “A lack of new product development and limited availability has undoubtedly been a major barrier in the ethnic beauty market.” She says that while there are luxury beauty ranges for those with darker skin tones, there are few mass-market alternatives.

She adds: “Rebranding and repackaging could help ethnic brands compete with mainstream products not just in terms of winning the ethnic pound, but also by enhancing product credibility.”

Mintel says that with investment in new products and advertising this market could grow by as much as 35% in the next five years, to reach £88m by 2012.

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