By  on August 16, 2007

With retailers from Limited Brands to J.C. Penney Co. pushing more and more into personal care, it's a clear sign the world of beauty continues to thrive. Retail research firm Buxton has provided the top U.S. metro areas ranked by average annual household spending on personal care products. Rich Hollander, president of Buxton's CustomerID division, stated, "What's interesting is to look at the top five and to find such high representation of Southern California. If you are a personal care products company, and you are about to launch a new product, Southern California is the place to be." He pointed out that New York has two of its metro areas within the top 15: Manhattan and Long Island. "This is a tight group at the top," he added. He said that while online shopping for cosmetics is a time-saving tool, "people still want to touch, smell, feel and see these actual products."

ORANGE COUNTY, CALIF.

Average annual household spending on personal care products: $473.30

Thanks to sun, sand and a plethora of plastic surgeons, plenty of antiaging skin care products appeal to residents. "Southern California projects the image that you've got to look good all the time," said Rich Hollander of Buxton. In 2006, the Pacific region ranked number one in sales volume with $1.9 billion, in terms of U.S. department store spending on beauty products* according to The NPD Group.

LOS ANGELES-LONG BEACH, CALIF.

Average household spending: $464.94

Hollywood and Rodeo Drive (seen left) define fashion and beauty, so it's only to be expected this area of SoCal ranks so highly. And celebrities do their part: Jessica Alba was just tapped to endorse Revlon's 3D Extreme Mascara, and in June, Jennifer Garner became spokeswoman for Neutrogena's skin products. And new residents David and Victoria Beckham recently launched a pair of fragrances, known as Intimately Beckham, to the U.S. market earlier this month.

SEATTLE-BELLEVUE-EVERETT, WASH.

Average household spending: $453.56

"This area came as a surprise to me," admitted Hollander. "People think of Seattle as environmentally friendly, and plenty of skin care products can appeal to the outdoorsy crowd." Karen Grant, senior beauty industry analyst for The NPD Group, pointed out that what's helping to drive beauty sales in the Pacific region is product purchases by ethnic groups. "The usage of makeup and skin care items is so much stronger in this region — in terms of ethnic groups," she said.SAN DIEGO

Average household spending: $440.68

With an average daily temperature of 70.5 degrees and sunny skies virtually year-round, San Diego is a real health and fitness area — walking, jogging, surfing, biking and swimming are common activities. This, of course, leads to plenty of interest in skin care products and body enhancement services. In La Jolla, an upscale community just north of the downtown area, Sephora, Empire Beauty Supply and Alexander Perfumes & Cosmetics are located.

CHICAGO

Average household spending: $439.57

Shopping choices abound in this booming Midwestern city. Along North Michigan Avenue, Chicago's wealthy shopping strip (also known as Magnificent Mile), stores such as L'Artisan Parfumeur, H20 Plus and L'Occitane can be found at The 900 Shops, an upscale, six-level shopping mall. In addition, Chicagobeauty.com offers residents discounts on services at popular spas, such as Delle Amiche spa and Elizabeth Adam Salon and Day Spa, both of which are located on North Michigan Avenue.

WASHINGTON, D.C.-MD.-VA.-W.V.

Average household spending: $435.04

This metro region branches out of the D.C. area to also include surrounding suburbs in Maryland (Chevy Chase, Silver Springs, Bethesda), Virginia (Fairfax, McLean, Arlington, Alexandria) and even a small portion of West Virginia. So shoppers have countless options for beauty products. Sephora, for example, has locations in Georgetown, McLean, Arlington, Fairfax and Bethesda. And in D.C., stores like Bodywares, Galerie Des Parfums and MAC Cosmetics can be found.

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL-WISC.

Average household spending: $428.21

Young product aficionados who can't get enough of Aveda should consider living near its corporate headquarters, in Blaine, Minn. The Aveda Institute Minneapolis prepares students for careers in cosmetology, massage therapy and nail technology. And Bloomington, Minn.'s Mall of America features shops such as Origins, Basin and Crabtree & Evelyn. Oxynate — an oxygen bar and boutique — offers plenty of options for those interested in a little product indulgence.

DALLAS

Average household spending: $423.32Home to Neiman Marcus, J.C. Penney (in nearby Plano), cosmetics giant Mary Kay Inc. and even personal care products powerhouse Kimberly-Clark, Dallas is certainly one hygienic city. Its new slogan — "Live Large. Think Big." — aptly applies to residents' lifestyles: "Everything is bigger here, even the hair," said Hollander. He added, "Dallas' image has similarities to that of L.A. Women don't leave the house without makeup on....Everyone looks great all the time."

BOSTON-N.H.

Average household spending: $418.45

Outer-lying suburbs of this metro region, which include southern parts of New Hampshire, boast popular beauty boutiques such as the Venus Cosmetic Store in Cambridge, Mass., Hidden Beauty in Concord, Mass., and Boston Beauty Supply in Lexington, Mass. Meanwhile, upscale Newbury Street in Boston boasts some beauty gems of its own, including Sabon, Shu Uemura Beauty Boutique, Diptyque and Lush Cosmetics.

NASSAU-SUFFOLK, N.Y.

Average household spending: $415.84

Where can residents of Long Island go to find their beauty products? Stores such as MAC Cosmetics, Bare Escentuals and Sephora can be found at Garden City's Roosevelt Field Mall. Americana Manhasset mall, on the north shore of Long Island, features stores like Chanel, Dior, Banana Republic and Burberry. And the glamour of the Hamptons oozes beautiful faces and names, who can stock up on products in shops such as White's Pharmacy of East Hampton and Naturopathica.

DENVER

Average household spending: $411.81

Denver's Cherry Creek North Business District is considered to be the region's Rodeo Drive. The area abounds with spas, each of which has its own shop. Bella Fiore Day Spa sells the Borghese skin care line and Glo spa offers makeup from DuWop and Blinc. Cherry Creek Shopping Center houses The Body Shop, Origins and Crabtree & Evelyn, along with department stores such as Neiman Marcus, Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue. Nordstrom is slated to open this fall.

PHOENIX-MESA, ARIZ.

Average household spending: $409.71

With 300-plus days of annual sunshine, this region in the Southwest is an ideal locale for outdoor adventure enthusiasts. Phoenix has also become a destination for retirees, as well. There is an abundance of spas in the area, including Arizona Biltmore Spa and Centre For Well-Being, in nearby Scottsdale. In addition, Scottsdale Fashion Square, located on Camelback Road, houses such beauty stores as Aveda, Green Tea, Lush, MAC Cosmetics and Trade Secret.NEW YORK

Average household spending: $408.12

Some of beauty's biggest companies, including Estée Lauder Cos., Revlon and Avon, have headquarters in New York. And stores from Barneys New York to Kiehl's, Bloomingdale's to Space NK cater to beauty fans. But while Manhattan's streets are packed with stores carrying beauty and personal care offerings, Hollander pointed out that plenty of shoppers are not residents of the metro area. Grant of NPD Group agreed. "Spending in Manhattan is heavily due to tourist activity," she said.

HOUSTON

Average household spending: $397.86

In Houston, one of the prominent shopping strips is Westheimer Road. Located there is the upscale Galleria Mall, where product seekers can peruse the floors of Neiman Marcus, Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue and Houston's only Nordstrom. Other specialty shops featuring products within the mall include The Body Shop, Aveda and Etoile Perfumery. And just down the road is Highland Village Shopping Center, which contains Waterworks, Anthropologie and L'Occitane.

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