Cosmetics Consumer Behavior in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

The U.S. is the most valuable beauty and personal care market in the world. In 2015, the American beauty and personal care market was valued at 80 billion U.S. dollars. Some of the main aspects that drive this market are consumer demand, consumer expenditure, and purchase behavior. About 33 percent of households with an annual income of 100,000 U.S. dollars or more spent between 500 and 999 U.S. dollars on skin care, cosmetics and fragrance in 2015, with a further 35 percent of them spending under 500 U.S. dollars. Skin care products also make up the largest part of the global cosmetic market. Besides skin care products, the cosmetic industry also includes hair care, make-up, perfumes, toiletries and deodorants, and oral cosmetics products.


American customers often turn to “Big Box” retail stores, such as Walmart and Target, to purchase cosmetic products. In spring 2016, the number of people who bought health and beauty items at Walmart in the U.S. amounted to about 82.75 million. A large share of American consumers also turn to pharmacies, such as CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid, to purchase cosmetics products. Nearly 170 million Americans purchased over the counter health and beauty products at any drug store in the U.S. as of spring 2016. During the same measured period, about 21.8 million customers stated a preference for buying health and beauty items at Rite Aid. A significant share of Americans also buy cosmetic products online, at department stores and in grocery stores.

Different groups may have different preferred beauty destinations or preferred types of products. About 57 percent of U.S. women, for example, feel that it is important to buy all-natural skin care products, and almost 50 percent showed a preference for bio makeup products. American teenagers have different preferences in regards to purchasing beauty products. Upper-income U.S. teens, for instance, said they prefer locations such as Sephora and Ulta to meet their beauty needs. In terms of cosmetic brands, MAC is the leading cosmetic brands amongst upper-income U.S. teens, followed by Maybelline and Urban Decay. MAC is also the preferred cosmetic brand amongst average-income U.S. teens.

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