Gel polish treatments up 35% in two years

The popularity of gel polish manicures continues to soar with 35% growth between 2013 and 2015, according to new research by analyst Mintel.

23% of women have received a gel manicure in salon in the past year while 14% have used gel polish at home, the report found.

Reasons for the spike in popularity varies, with women stating that gel polish outlasts regular polish (30%), is worth the additional cost (18%) and makes nails look thicker (16%).

However, Mintel's does include the new gel-effect polishes that do not require a lamp in its gel manicure statistics. In fact, the analyst reports that the biggest increase in usage has come from these hybrid polishes that do not require use of light, with 20% of women using these products in 2015 compared to just 11% the year before.

Figures also show that Millennial and Hispanic women are the biggest users of gel polish – around one third (32%) of women aged 25–34 and two fifths (42%) of Hispanic women use the products.

“Our research reveals that Millennial women and Hispanic women – both of whom over index for usage of gel polish – are vital in shaping current nail trends and driving category growth,” said Shannon Romanowski, category manager, health, household, beauty and personal care at Mintel. “This suggests the potential for gel polish lines to target specific female demographics with unique messaging and brand ambassadors to further engage them in the nail colour and care category.”

While the nail colour and care market increased by 42% between 2010 and 2013, reaching just over $2 billion (£1.4bn), research shows that sales are trend-driven and cyclical – pointing to a sales drop in 2014 to $1.9 billion (£1.3bn).

Frequency of nail polish usage among teenage girls (12–17 years old) has declined from 4.65 times per month in 2013 to 3.51 times per month in 2015, and this waning interest has had a strong impact on the market.

“Teen girls, in particular, are less involved with the category as they are especially driven by fashion trends. While the current nail colour and care market is suffering from the cyclical nature of beauty trends, it is likely that nail brands can expect another surge in sales in the near future, when experimentation in nail care will again emerge,” added Romanowski.

Others said they were concerned about the safety of the product, with 27% worried about chemicals in the polish and 24% concerned about the potential damage to their nails from frequent application.

Mintel said sales may continue to stagnate until 2017 with a predicted upswing in 2020, which would see sales return to a forecast of $2 billion (£1.4bn).