African-American Market a Significant Untapped Opportunity

ESSENCE magazine recently held its fourth annual Smart Beauty panel the Mandarin Oriental in New York City. ESSENCE Beauty Director Mikki Taylor led the panel and was joined by celebrity makeup artist Sam Fine, dermatologist Rosemarie Ingleton and Candace Corlett, president of WSL Strategic Retail. The panel discussed the attitudes and purchase behaviors of the modern African-American beauty consumer.

ESSENCE shared the results of its proprietary study, Smart Beauty IV (developed in conjunction with New York-based research firm Vision Critical Group). Designed to educate, inform and inspire change in marketing to women of color by identifying their buying power, influence, needs and desires, the research methodology for Smart Beauty IV included online surveys from more than 1,500 women who used branded beauty products and have shopped at a prestige store for a cosmetic, skin care or hair care beauty product in the past six months.

Results from the study show that African-American women spend $7.5 billion annually on beauty products. Of particular significance to the spa industry, African-American women spend nearly twice as much on skin care annually than the general market.

"Essence's Smart Beauty research confirms that African-American women are confident and aspirational; embracing and celebrating their unique beauty to the fullest," says Taylor. "As trendsetters, African-American women enjoy the beauty experience and are loyal consumers, who trust prestige brands to deliver the quality they expect."

Regarding what informs the purchase decision for African-American women: Reflecting her personal style, being a brand she trusts, offering high-quality ingredients and being suited to her needs all stand out as key attributes to compel purchase across cosmetic, skin and hair categories respectively.