According to a report from market analysts ACNielsen, global sales of personal care products are up 3 per cent on the previous year.
The report, which analysed data from 56 countries, found that the face cleansing and moisturising category has seen the fastest growth in 2003, with a 7 per cent increase, followed closely by the product areas of body cleansing, and moisturising and sun care, each with matching growth rates of 5 per cent.
Innovation continues to be the impetus behind sales growth in the consolidated western personal care markets, says ACNielsen, whereas convenience, price and a number of other factors such as the health benefits associated through using personal care products are affecting growth across the less developed markets.
In Asia Pacific, for example, toilet soap sales were bolstered following the highly publicised SARS outbreak, and another health scare concerning over-exposure to the Sun helped up sales of Sun protection creams across Latin America.
The convenience factor has also added to global sales growth in 2003 - as demonstrated by the growing consumer preference for shower gels, as opposed to bar format toilet soap in the emerging markets.
Erring on the side of caution, ACNielsen commented that double digit growth reported across developing markets might also be somewhat deceptive.
Its analysts claim, for example, that while one personal care product may have been touted as an innovation in a less developed market, it may have been available across the more consolidated western markets for a number of years and thus would have shown a considerably slower rate of growth.
While developing markets such as Taiwan, for instance, are experiencing a boom in hair care products, growth in the North American hair care sector during 2003 has been comparatively slow, stifled by competition and rising raw material costs.
According to the report, the proliferation of international grocery chains has also helped secure the commonplace availability of cosmetic and personal care products in the less developed markets, which has allowed a raft of international brands and private labels to assert their presence.
The report claims that the perception of private label products as a more economical option for consumers has also detracted from value growth in the more consolidated markets.