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Just the Numbers: Black Beauty Consumers and Brands

June 19, 2022
June 19, 2022
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While there is more attention today on Black beauty consumers and brands, deep challenges remain when it comes to equity. Removing those barriers has the potential of creating a greater opportunity for everyone in the industry. McKinsey's Institute for Black Economic Mobility conducted research to understand the structural challenges facing Black people and the vast untapped economic opportunities in the beauty category.

Market Size

  • Black Americans spend $6.6 billion on beauty and represent 11.1% of the total US beauty market.
  • Black beauty brands capture only 2.4% of revenue in the overall beauty market, lagging far behind the 11.1% of the Black consumer spend on beauty products, and the 12.4% of Black people in the US population.
  • Black brands make up only 2.5% of revenue in the beauty industry. 
  • Addressing racial inequity in the beauty industry is a $2.6 billion opportunity. 

Investment

  • Black brands in the beauty industry raise a median of $13 million in venture capital, substantially less than the $20 million that non-Black brands raise. Yet today, the median revenue of those Black brands is 89x higher than what non-Black beauty brands return over the same period.
  • Of 213 VC-backed beauty companies, only 16 of them were Black founded. 
  • Black brands comprise 9% of early-stage and 4% of late-stage VC investments. The attrition rate for Black brands from early to late stage of support is 86%, compared with 62% for non-Black brands. 

Beauty Retail Experience

  • Black consumers show an affinity and preference for Black beauty brands and are 2.2x as likely to conclude that products from those brands will work for them. 
  • Only 4% to 7% of beauty brands carried by specialty beauty stores, drugstores, grocery stores, and department stores are Black brands.
  • On average, Black consumers travel 3.36 miles to a specialty beauty store, about 21% further than white consumers. 
  • Black consumers also need to travel more than 17% further than white consumers to department stores to access expert customer service from behind a makeup counter.
  • 23% of respondents said that salespeople could have sophisticated discussions about Black beauty brands and products. And only 13% said that sales associates could make knowledgeable recommendations for Black consumers. 
  • Black customers are 5.7x more likely than white customers to be dissatisfied with product specialization in color cosmetics and 2.9x and 1.6x more likely to be dissatisfied with skin care and haircare products, respectively.
  • Regardless of the type of retail store—whether it's a drugstore, mass-market store, specialty beauty retailer, or department store—beauty products from Black brands make up less than 7% of what's on shelves. 

Better serving Black consumers and supporting Black beauty brands could drive greater equity across the entire beauty industry for shoppers, entrepreneurs, big beauty brands, retailers, and investors.

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