Color Cosmetics Are Somewhat Pallid

By Katie Middleweek, European Cosmetic Markets Tel: (44) 020 7193 6862 | November 6, 2012

Following last year’s successful string of results, it has been a rather pallid year for the color cosmetics category in the Big 5 with all countries, apart from the UK, slipping in value terms. The UK was the only country that didn’t see a decline, but there again it didn’t see growth either. This performance has caused some concern among the ranks in an industry, which always regarded color cosmetics as such a solid category.

Dulled Down
Color cosmetics sales in France took a turn for the worse in the past year, with value sales slipping by 1.3% to $512.9 million, according to SymphonyIRI France while volume sales also took a slight downturn, slipping by 0.3% to account for 39.4 million units sold. Lip cosmetics and facial cosmetics also dropped by 4.1% and 1.9% respectively while eye cosmetics also fell a smaller 0.3%, although this was not quite so worrying.

In terms of innovation, there was quite a lot going on when it came to newness, especially from domestic brands. Gemey-Maybelline (L’Oréal) has prepared well for the season ahead with a barrage of new eyeliner products. The brand introduced three dramatic new shades to its long lasting EyeStudio Master Drama Kohl Liner collection: Bleu Electrique, Bleu Lagon and Vert Couture, and added Precise Liquid Eyeliner to its EyeStudio Master range. According to the brand, its ultra-fine felt tip enables highly accurate application with a ultra-black color, which is smudge-proof and long lasting. Gemey-Maybelline has added two new shades, Black Gold and Black Chrome to its Lasting Drama gel eyeliner, a 24-hour formulation that is applied with a brush.

Troubling Times
There wasn’t any better news in Germany as SymphonyIRI Germany also reported declines in both value and volume terms. The first eight months of this year showed that color cosmetics sales in the country has dropped by 3.1% to nearly $878 million, while volume sales had fallen by a much more dismal 5.6% to 103.7 million units. In value terms, eye and lip sales fell 5.4% and 6.6%, respectively, but face products did make a small gain, inching up 1.3%.

Esteé Lauder brands always sell well in Germany and Origins is certainly one of those brands. Just two months ago it rolled out its GinZing Brightening Mascara, which offers a somewhat natural alternative to most high street offerings. The product contains natural plant extracts including Canauba palm, Acacia Senegal and waxes to deliver extreme length, volume and definition to lashes while the bold new brush complex helps to boost and define the lashes from root to tip. The formula also contains rosemary extract to help condition the lashes and an eye brightening pearl complex to give lashes a deep, intense hue that helps illuminate the eye area so it appears lighter.

Slip Sliding Away
The news was even worse in Italy as Unipro reported a decline for the whole category of 5.1% to about $1.17 billion, although there was promising news in the form of make-up packs which gained a staggering 21.4% in the past year to account for $62 million worth of sales. Facial cosmetic sales were down 1.6%, however, and there was more dismal news for eye products and lip products which each took a tumble of 2.8% in the past 12 months. Aside from makeup packs, all other sub-sectors in Italy were in decline from foundations to eyeshadows and lipliners, in what will surely cause concern in this usually most buoyant of categories.

Italian consumers have been treated to a plethora of new products including some notable ones, which have come from homegrown brands.

Following the recent trend for BB creams, Collistar (The Bolton Group) recently released Magica BB Absolute Perfection, Energy+Brightness SPF20, which is designed to be practical and easy to use. The cream combines anti-aging ingredients with brightness enhancing properties to even and brighten the complexion for a youthful look. The product has three anti-aging ingredients designed to target the first signs of wrinkles. Lichi extracted from the fruit of the lichi tree, which has been growing in China for thousands of years, is known for its multi-protective properties against oxidative stress and photo-aging, which it combats by reducing the inflammatory reaction after exposure to UV rays. Oligopeptide 20 promotes the growth of new skin cells stimulating the synthesis of elastin and collagen therefore counteracting the formation of wrinkles and fine lines. Finally trehalose, a sugar found in organisms exposed to high temperatures, incorporates water molecules into its structure then releases them as they are required responding to climate changes. The product comes in two shades and is suitable for all skin types.

Boom or Bust?
SymphonyIRI Spain had no rosy tinted news to report in the Spanish market—sales there were even more dire than in other places, as sales plunged 9.8% to about $524 million in the past year. There were also declines in volume terms with a slide of 6.2%, and the category accounting for 46.6 million units sold. All sub-sectors, right across the board, recorded a slip in value and volume terms. Eye, lip and facial cosmetics dropped by 9%, 13% and 6% in value terms and 5%, 11% and 3% in volume terms.

On the NPD front, Oriflame has brought a couple of new lines to the Spanish market in recent months. The Gloss Líquido Powershine, which is available in colors such as nude bronze, soft coral and red ovation, contains a polymer and pearlescent pigments while also acting as a barrier to prevent dehydration.

Antioxidant properties are also said to neutralize the potentially harmful effects of overexposure to UV rays. The Swedish firm has also introduced the Hyperstretch mascara that it says is its most innovative mascara available. The Pro-Long complex is said to “complement the lashes’ natural growth cycle” and stimulate the production of keratin for longer, stronger lashes.

Meanwhile, Make Up Forever, whose brands feature prominently in Sephora stores in the country, has also launched a limited edition collection that is inspired by the world of Tango. Black Tango is a palette of four different black tones of eye shadow that are said to be easy to apply due to their creamy texture. The company has also recently introduced the water resistant Aqua rouge lipstick in an intense red color.

A Static Performance
The UK was the only market not to register a proper decline in value sales, staying static to top $1 billion for the past 12 months. However, this wasn’t exactly cause for too much celebration, even if volume sales did see a slight increase of 2.7% to make 112.7 million units, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Although face cosmetics did see a slip of 1.6% in value terms, eye and lip products gained 0.5% and 2.2%, respectively.

In launch news, Calvin Klein (Coty) launched its cK One color line internationally this year and exclusively through department store Debenhams in the UK in September where it has proved a popular addition. Although Calvin Klein did launch a color collection in the nineties, followed by a relaunch in 2008, cK One color offers a completely new take on the brand’s original collection promising “a simplified approach to beauty that embraces individualism and defies stereotypes.”
Based around three dimensions, the collection asks the consumer to “look real,” “define yourself” and “add intensity” through its products packaged within minimalist, modern cases. The 20-SKU range consists of a number of face, lip and eye products, with an emphasis on brights based around primary colors such as the powder eyeshadow quad in Amazon.

While the figures aren’t exactly testament to this the Big 5 color cosmetics market has been awash with color on the innovation front in the past year with customers rather spoiled for choice. It is whether they will actually choose to spend rather than save which will be the key to how the official figures are looking this time next year.

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.