The nails industry is one business segment that is not seeing a shift toward “DIY” (doing it yourself) to save money. Instead, sales for store-bought polishes and removers have declined and the purchase of professional nail salon services has gone up.
Sales of drugstore-brand polishes and polish removers are down, according to a new report from Mintel, a Chicago-based market research firm. Sales of nail color and nail care products at food, drug, and mass merchandisers dropped by more than $20 million from 2003 to 2005, while professional nail service sales were up nearly $1 billion dollars in the same period. (This contradicts NAILS’ own projections, which show the professional nail market in a slight decline during that time frame.)
But rather than pointing to the success of the salon industry’s “buy professional” crusade, the report cites the proliferation of low-priced salon services. “At certain salons, manicures can be found for as low as $10,” says Mintel analyst Kat Fay. “Compare these prices to a bottle of ‘professional look’ nail polish retailing for $6, and the difficulties of nail care merchandisers become obvious. 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.”
Further deterring purchases of nail color products is the trend toward natural-looking nails, says the report. Women remain interested in filed nails and neat cuticles, even between manicure and pedicure appointments, says Fay, and this has supported sales of other nail care items. From 2003 to 2005, sales of nail implements — such as emery boards, nail clippers, and cuticle trimmers — grew by $5 million (from $145 to $150 million). Still, sales in this segment are expected to remain flat.