By Youri Kemp
Since we had the soft launch of www.bestbizpage.com
, we went through struggle after struggle after struggle with site updates, upgrades, adding new content, making it more user friendly, putting new services in place for our subscribers and the general public -- and a host of other little bits and pieces.
Educated at the Bahamas Baptist Community College; St Thomas University and The London School of Economics and Political Science, Youri Kemp is a Management and Development Consultant
But through all of that time, we have been able to have a first-hand glimpse into what’s trending in the market -- particularly for small and medium sized enterprises, and also what folks out there are really looking for and what businesses are marketing out there for their goods and services.
I have to say that the early returns are not overly surprising, but interesting nonetheless.
The most searched for terms are hair care products and sexy-things. Shocked? Not to us at Bestbizpage.com.
Secondly, the most looked at item -- meaning the items that most people have looked at as a stand-alone, listing and classifieds items, are sexy lingerie and sex novelties. By far!
Let’s take a look at the respective industries to validate what we have seen from our initial returns!
The beauty and personal care industry, of which hair care products is a part, stated in Euromonitor’s “Latest Research: Beauty and Personal Care, 2012″ report, reached a whopping, worldwide, $426 billion dollars by the end of 2011, with the US making up nearly 85% of the total, world-wide market value.
As an aside, the beauty and personal care industry is almost larger than the entire US consumer goods market.
As reported by the US Department of Commerce, the consumer goods market is estimated at $425 billion dollars at the end of 2012. The consumer goods industry is comprised of sub-sectors like appliances, toys, furniture and home furnishings, recreational boats, recreational vehicles (RVs), motorcycles, games, gifts, greeting cards, school and office products, jewellery, sporting goods, musical instruments, and processed foods and beverages, etc.
However, analysts have projected the growth of beauty and personal care products to grow from anywhere between 10% to 14% by 2014. That’s a lot of money and opportunities for small retailers and people looking to get into the business.
To go even further, hair care products, as a sub-sector of the overall beauty and personal care industry, makes up anywhere between 8% to 20% of global sales as reported by research aggregator, MarketLine and Euromonitor -- which translates into, roughly, between $50 billion to $85 billion, or thereabouts -- and growing even faster than the overall beauty and personal sector and projected at a 19% increase in value by 2015.
What’s important to note is that the total estimation of the value chain is left outstanding. Meaning that, while we calculate total sales and revenues as a result of the end product (and the supply chain, for that matter), lipstick sales, hair and shampoo sales (both retail and manufactured weave from various manufacturing depots in India and Brazil), the value of the production chain in this industry is left understated.
For example, equipment for processing these products, from machinery, to packaging, to storage facilities and testing, marketing, market research and the evaluation of the trends and the industry in general, the manpower it takes to produce the information to make this market more fruitful, are all a very important parts of the value chain and the total value of this industry and should be estimated for us to take into account the fullness of this industry.
The aesthetic value of the beauty industry is something of a social phenomenon and widely debated; who determines beauty, what is beauty, what “looks” good and what makes one stand out with their personal accessories, is something of a hazy art.
Also, the term “personal care” is a little vague -- massage parlours, personal treatments, health care supplements for skin and hair, etc, etc… are classified and can be interpreted in a host of other ways and have been used in a host of other ways.
However important all of that is, or whatever that means for the society in terms of the numbers, isn’t worth examining regardless of how interesting it is to discuss for this article. Crawling into the spirit of this phenomenon and unpacking what makes it what it is, is something that social scientists and marketers need to grasp -- and I fully await their additional findings if ever a case calls for such introspection.
On the other hand, it is no secret that sex is still selling -- and selling in a major way.
I guess it is a sort of “no brainer” that, while folks want to look their best, they want to look their best for something -- in totality and all encompassing.
The sex industry is estimated at about $60 billion dollars worldwide. Of that $60 billion, roughly $10 to $15 billion is accounted for in sex novelties and toys: i.e. your role play outfits, your sexual toys, male enhancements, lubricants, gels and a host of other itty-bitty things we use to spice up our love life.
While the sex industry is a mere fraction of the beauty and personal care industry, I would estimate that the numbers are also grossly understated and misleading. Who really counts sex? Who “really” gives an account for who’s doing what to whom? You get the picture?
There was really no surprise in what we have seen and researched as a result of our indicators, quite frankly.
What’s interesting to discuss as a brain-tickler is that looking your best doesn’t always translate into wanting to share that experience with someone, at least from a numbers and value standpoint.
Does that make us all vain, selfish and self-absorbed people? You can say that to a certain degree. Or you can say it another way: You have to purchase beauty and personal care products in order to achieve the beauty pageant/Kim Kardashian/Beyonce Knowles look, but you don’t necessarily need to buy sex or sex novelties to hook it up with Ms Argentina or Joseline Hernandez.
Perhaps, seeing what we have seen at this early stage is an indicator of a possible industry marriage with beauty and personal care and sex as well?
For example, we have “massage parlours” and “bath houses” that cater to “discriminating persons” and persons in need of that extra-special treatment. We also have “gentlemen’s clubs”, “review shows” and “cabarets” that adult performers all need a variety of costumes, gimmicks and attire to appease and satiate their audiences.
However you want to put it, it’s what’s trending, however unsurprising or surprising it is.