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Some industries may be struggling, but nail care certainly isn’t one of them. The $1.6 billion business is experiencing rapidly increasing sales, especially when it comes to nail polish, and everyone is trying to get in on the growth.

Nail polish sales hit $768 million in 2012, a 32% increase over the year before. Meanwhile, makeup sales only increased 4.3% over the same period. Surveys have shown that 33% of women own at least 25 bottles of nail polish. Polish provides a relatively inexpensive way to update your look, especially in a rocky economy when sales of other products are down. So, you can see why companies are eager to get into the business of nails. Marketers of nail products are saying, “It really is a scramble with all fighting to see who can get more of their fair share.”

Just as designers prepare new designs for each season, those in the nail polish industry create new products to market to consumers for each season too. For spring, several nail trends have emerged in the market.

  • Sandy & Matte Textures – OPI’s Liquid Sand, which launched as a part of Mariah Carey’s new line of nail polish, is the brand’s latest innovation. According to OPI, the sand polishes are just glitter polishes intended to be worn without a topcoat to provide “a never-before-seen look” that’s textured and matte. Other brands will likely hop on the bandwagon with their own textured polishes.

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  • Nail Stickers – Nail stickers have been around for a while already, but they’re not going anywhere. Effortlessly adding patterns and designs to nails is as popular as ever and companies will continue to provide customers with new ways to do so. Essie, for example, just launched a line of nail wraps. L’Oréal has added nail wraps to their product offerings, while several over brands are also starting to offer patterned French manicure kits, appliqués, gems, and glitter.
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  • Gel Systems – At-home gel manicure systems that simulate what you experience in a nail salon are a huge hit among consumers. The next big step for companies is to create polishes that look the same and last as long as a gel manicure, but that are much easier to apply. Sally Hansen has released a Complete Salon Manicure line that contains a “protecting shine enhancer” that creates a gel look. Revlon created its ColorStay collection, which boasts a “gel-like shine,” while Cover Girl is considering introducing their own gel-like polish.

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  • Store Presence – Companies can release all the new nail products they want, but they need to get the goods into stores in order to sell them. Luckily, retailers are taking note of the growing sales in the nail industry as well as increased sales of nail care products within their own stores. CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Shoppers Drug Mart are all focused on creating “destination areas” for beauty products. For instance, CVS is rolling out its “Nail HQ” department in thousands of stores nationwide. The section with feature kiosks and displays to catch customers’ eyes and inform buyers about the latest nail trends and newest products.

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  • Social Media – Social media is part of the reason for all this growth in the nail care business. Many women post photos on Twitter or Instagram of their nail polish or of nail designs they love. Celebrities’ obsession with nail art is adding to the frenzy too. Companies are now learning to take advantage of social media in order to connect with their customers. For example, Sally Hansen will soon be launching a campaign called “I Love Nail Art” to encourage women to get creative with their nail designs.
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