Teens' disposable income drives acne category sales


stockchecker on acne


Teens’ disposable income drives acne category sales

D. P. Hamacher & Associates, a division of NONSTOP Solutions Inc., provided the material for this column. The Hamacher firm is a Milwaukee-based management consulting company specializing in drugstore management tools. For further information, call Hamacher at 1-(800) 888-0889, or e-mail the company at info@hamacher.com. Hamacher also has a Web site athttp://www.Hamacher.com.

Acne is a problem for millions of teens and adults. In fact, the teenage quest for a clear complexion has spurred the acne treatment subcategory to double-digit growth. Dollar sales have risen 12.6%, to $324 million, over the past year. Unit volume grew 8.5%, to 74 million units.

The good news is that sales should continue to climb. Two key factors support this optimism. First, a wide array of new products–from facial cloths to shine-control powders–is being introduced with great success. Second, our nation’s largest generation of teenagers is spending more money than ever before on personal products. And for the drugstore, there’s even better news. Its market share as a subcategory has reached 31%—improving 11.2% over a year ago.

Sales (000)
% Change
Outlet share
Mass-merchandisers Drugstores Food stores
$129,600 $100,440 $ 93,960
+14.9% +11.2% +10.9%
40% 31% 29%

The most recent products to enter the market include body washes, facial cloths, and acne patches. Such innovations give choosy teens treatment options. With more choices, teens are likely to find a product that works for them and stick with it.

A few new products have already succeeded in this segment. The Clean & Clear line is growing tremendously. According to Hamacher data, five of the line’s six introductions now rank among the top 800 items in the category. In fact, Clean & Clear’s Shine Control Powder ranks 361. Basis Facial Cleansing Cloths are also doing well—against new products in the cleansing cloth subcategory backed by much larger marketing budgets.


Because growth in the acne treatment subcategory is so strong, give these items prime shelf locations—preferably shelves five and six. We brand block this category whenever possible and place specialty bars and cleansers like Aveeno, Salac, PanOxl, and Basis on shelves three and four.

Start your category on the left side and move inward to the right, placing facial cleansers next to acne treatments on the top two shelves. Acne treatments and facial cleansers are natural tie-in items, and skin care systems such as the new Clean & Clear line are increasing their popularity with the teen market.

Counseling opportunities

Drugstores that use patient counseling to differentiate themselves from their competition will do well in this subcategory because many misconceptions about acne and its causes persist among teens. Pharmacists can play a key role in giving patients the truth about acne care.

For example, many teens believe that the more they wash their face, the better, but that is not so. Teens who vigorously wash their faces and wash more frequently further irritate their skin. Advise teens to gently wash with a mild soap and pat their faces dry to decrease irritation. When they’re finished, they should apply the acne treatment that you’ve helped them select. Personal counseling gives you the perfect opportunity to help patients treat their acne and choose the product best suited to them. Counseling also enables you to recommend related products, like cleansers.

Patients should never passively let acne run its course. It’s a condition that can and should be treated. In fact, patients with serious cases of acne should consult a dermatologist. However, you can help patients clear up more common conditions by recommending over-the-counter products containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.

In any case, acne treatments mean big business for your drugstore. Keep a good selection and counsel patients whenever possible. Building a rapport with younger customers builds loyalty and creates a possible lifetime customer.


Large Dept.
Medium Dept.
Small Dept.
Linear feet Number of SKUs Estimated sales per year Estimated inventory retail Retail inventory turns
21 75 $4,250 $905 4.5




Aveeno Skin Clarifying Cleanser 6.7 oz. Aveeno Skin Clarifying Toner 6.7 oz. Basis Facial Cleansing Cloths 20 Biore Blemish Double Agent .75 oz. Biore Deep Pore Toner 7.5 oz. Clean & Clear Acne Patch 30 Overnight Clean & Clear Acne Body Wash 9 oz. Clearing Clean & Clear Cleansing Wipes 25 Clean & Clear Concealing Stick Light Clean & Clear Concealing Stick Medium Clean & Clear Facial Moisturizing Mist 2.1 oz. O/F Clean & Clear Instant Foam Acne Wash 6.oz. O/F Clean & Clear Shine Control Powder .23 oz. Clean & Clear Toner 6 oz. Neutrogena Foam Cleanser Acne Wash 5.1 oz. Neutrogena Clear Pore Soothing Gel Astrin 4.2 oz. Neutrogena Clear Pore Shine Control .3 oz.
J&J J&J Beiersdorf Andrew Jergens Andrew Jergens J&J J&J J&J J&J J&J J&J J&J J&J J&J Neutrogena Neutrogena Neutrogena



Use this never out list to monitor your in-stock condition. The items listed account for more than 50% of the dollar sales in the acne subcategory. An out-of-stock on any of these items represents a significant loss of sales.

____ Clearasil Vanishing Cream M/S .65 oz.

____ Clearasil Vanishing Cream M/S 1 oz.

____ Aveeno Acne Bar 3.5 oz.

____ Clearasil Daily Face Wash 6.5 oz. Tube

____ Neutrogena Acne Cleansing Bar 3.5 oz.

____ Neutrogena Acne Wash 6 oz. O/FR

____ Salac Acne Wash 6 oz.



This list includes the most popular and price-sensitive SKUs in the acne care subcategory. Use it to see if your prices on these key items fall within the average everyday retail range.

Everyday price range
Clean & Clear Cleanser 6.5 oz. Tube Clearasil Vanishing Cream M/S .65 oz. Neutrogena Acne Wash 6 oz. O/F Neutrogena Acne Soap 3.5 oz.
$3.99 - $4.99 $3.99 - $4.83 $5.19 - $6.83 $2.49 - $3.69


Sandra Levy. Teens' disposable income drives acne category sales.

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