Europeans Paint the Town Red As Color Cosmetic Sales Rise

By Katie Middleweek, Editor, European Cosmetic Markets | November 10, 2011

It has been a bright past year for the color cosmetics market in the Big 5 as all countries, apart from Spain, made gains in value terms. In the case of France and Germany, the increases were particularly impressive, demonstrating that there is a secure future for the category as long as this trend continues.

Facing Facts
According to figures from SymphonyIRI France, French color cosmetics market sales rose 3.6% in the past year to total nearly $622 million and in volume terms the market increased 2.8% to exceed 50 million units. Facial makeup is the most popular sub-sector in France followed by eyes, nails and lips, in that order. Facial color cosmetic sales grew by a robust 4.6% during the past year but eye product sales slipped by 0.8%, which is something worth keeping an eye on.

Nail care has also been a big growth area in France. Competition in the sector is fierce, and last month saw a major new entry in the French market from professional nail polish brand Essie (L’Oréal), with an extensive new retail line in Monoprix stores exclusively for six months before launching widely in hypermarkets and supermarkets from April 2012.

The line, which consists of 90 nail polish shades, 10 nail care products and four topcoats, has been especially formulated for the retail launch to make them easier and quicker to apply, being thicker than the professional line while the brushes are wider to cover the nail in a single stroke.

German Growth
The German color cosmetics market has been particularly buoyant of late, according to SymphonyIRI Germany. In the first six months of 2011, sales rose 5.4% to $524 million. The most popular sub-sector was eye products, followed by face, lips and nails in that order. All sub-sectors also made healthy gains apart from facial care cosmetics, which declined 0.8%.

German naturals brand Babor, usually better known for its spa and skin care products, is making real strides with its color cosmetics collections and the autumn/winter offering was a particular highlight.

Two standout products were the Super Style Mascara and the Mineral Powder Foundation. Super Style Mascara promises volume and length. The increase in volume is attributed to flexible polymers in the formula that cling to lashes, almost like mini eyelash extensions, according to the brand.

Mineral Powder Foundation, meanwhile, is a loose powder product that offers the same coverage as a foundation, but gives a light, dewy finish at the same time. The powder is made up of 99% minerals to give the skin a light shimmer and the formula is free from waxes, perfumes and artificial colorants.

Babor’s Super Style Mascara is adding volume to category sales in Germany.

Eyeing the Market
In Italy, color cosmetics sales rose 2.7% last year to nearly $1.5 billion, according to trade body Unipro. Color cosmetics are the third largest sector in the Italian cosmetics and toiletries market. Eye products, in particular, contributed to this growth, putting on an impressive 29.6% to total $240 million, but sales of lip products slid 9.8% to $90 million.

Mascaras were also a focus in Italy when it came to NPD and much emphasis was put on both wand design and formulation with mineral and organic ingredients coming to the fore a lot more.

Collistar’s LashPlump Complex incorporates bamboo extracts, which adhere to the lashes, giving them a thicker, more voluminous appearance. This product has been popular with consumers probably also because it comes from a home-grown company, as the Italians are very loyal to domestic companies when choosing their color wares—Deborah and Pupa are two other good examples here.

Own Label Importance
Things were less bright in Spain, as the overall market fell 0.5% to $665 million in the past year in value sales, according to figures from SymphonyIRI Spain. However, volume rose 4% to 64 million units. Cheaper own label products continued to grow in prominence in Spain and during the same period own label products put on 8% in value terms to make up $95.6 million of the overall color cosmetics total.

Despite this, luxury brands were also selling well in Spain and LVMH-owned Guerlain has introduced a new product to its Lingerie de Peau range. The makeup is supposed to be imperceptible for a nude skin look and the firm has recently added a Fond de Teint & Correcteur to cover imperfections in the face and give it a youthful freshness. The product is available in eight varieties to suit both light and darker skin types.

Also new in terms of products for the face, Laboratorios Nuxe has revamped its Teint Eclat Prodigieux in order to create a natural look for skin. The range is made from natural vegetable and mineral ingredients and starts with a foundation that is available in three different shades to suit the skin tone.

To complement the foundation, Nuxe has also added a powder to cover up wrinkles and soften shiny areas of the skin.

Blemish Free
According to Kantar Worldpanel, the UK color cosmetics market grew by a small but encouraging 1.7% to exceed $1.2 billion in the past year. Volume sales fared worse, falling 3.8% to about 158 million units for the same period. Facial color cosmetics remains the largest sub-sector in the UK, accounting for 35.2% of all sales and things are still moving in the right direction as this sub-sector also grew by 1.8% in 2010.

Une’s Intuitive Touch BB-cream foundation provides a natural finish to skin.

In terms of NPD, the facial cosmetics sector saw considerable influence from Asia with the introduction of BB (blemish balm) creams from both the mass and premium brands.

French beauty brand Une (Chanel) launched a natural version of the South Korean phenomenon onto the UK market this year. Intuitive Touch BB-Cream Foundation promises to smooth, correct, moisturize, balance, nourish, protect and enhance radiance, leaving a natural looking, “no makeup” finish. The formula, which is said to be 100% natural, contains a blend of carnauba and beeswax, jojoba seed oil, vitamin E, shea butter, maca root, rice powder and natural pigments and is talc-free.

The compact foundation can be applied using the integral brush to lighten and conceal small areas or with a kabuki brush for fuller coverage. Seven shades are available as well as a refill, which is claimed to reduce environmental impact by as much as 70%.

The Big 5 European countries have had much to be thankful for in terms of color cosmetics and there has been real innovation in the category as a whole during the past year. Color cosmetics is always an area consumers get excited about, as they are eager to try new products, shades and textures. Manufacturers just need to keep up with the insatiable demand for all things colorful.

European Cosmetic Markets is published monthly by HPCi Media Limited. It provides in-depth data and analysis of the European cosmetics and toiletries market. For subscription details contact HPCi Media Limited, Tel: (44) 0207 193 7447 • Fax: (44) 20 7549 8622