Men's Skin Care Zooms; Online Booms
NEW YORK — Men's skin care sales rose 13 percent in U.S. department stores last year to $59 million, according to NPD Beauty, a division of market information company The NPD Group Inc.

This growth rate was more than double that of both the entire skin care category and the total women's skin care market last year, each of which grew by 6 percent. It was the second consecutive year that the men's skin care category outpaced women's skin care, NPD said.

Meanwhile, on the women's side, an extensive NPD Beauty study called "Emerging Channels: Beauty Care Products on the Internet," found that the main reason 53 percent of women who shop on the Internet do so is because they are looking for more convenience. It is easier to shop there, they say.

Also, faster connection speeds are making accessing the Internet easier and women "are now noticing items that used to be exclusive to 'brick-and-mortar' retailers are now available online," the published report said.

The survey also found that women tend to shop online for brands they already own and are less likely to buy brands online that they've never heard of. From March 28 to April 6, NPD surveyed more than 7,300 women age 18 to 64 and 6,863 of them reported shopping for beauty products during the past 12 months.

Overall, 10 percent of the women said they shopped for beauty online, spending an average of $83 a year. The report also said that self-reported online beauty shopping rose by 38 percent over last year. What's more, 20 percent of female consumers intend to spend more online for beauty products during the next year than they did in the last year.

"What may be even more surprising to many manufacturers and retailers is that the Internet has already surpassed some of the more traditional channels for beauty products in terms of future purchase intent, such as fine department stores, kiosks at malls and phone or mail order channels," said Timra Carlson, the outgoing president of NPD Beauty.

Sites that sell multiple brands are the most popular among shoppers, according to NPD. In terms of online beauty purchases, drugstore.com and sephora.com were the first and second most popular sites, respectively. These were followed, in order, by avon.com, victoriassecret.com and target.com.

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