Some New Wrinkles in European Skin Care

November 14, 2005

In contrast with many other product categories, the facial skin care market turned in a strong performance in 2002, with sales in value terms improving virtually across the board. More importantly, volume sales also rose in most countries, as manufacturers attracted new consumers to the market and persuaded existing consumers to spend more.

France remains by far the largest facial skin care market, with sales of ¤1.8 billion in 2001, according to ECM calculations based on statistics from the Fédération des Industries de la Parfumerie (FIP). Total sales figures for 2002 are not yet available but industry sources indicate that selective sales rose 5% in value, 9% in mass and 10% in pharmacy. Unlike other European countries, volume sales failed to keep pace, indicating that the sales growth was due in part to price increases. Mass market pack sales, for example, fell 1.5%, while selective unit sales inched up just 0.7%. Only pharmacy volume sales posted a healthy 6% gain.

Germany, despite its large population, recorded facial skin care sales of ¤535.8 million between January and October 2002, according to Information Resources Inc.-representing growth of just 1.9% by value. However, the stagnating German economy forced manufacturers to hold their prices and volume sales were far more encouraging, growing 9.3%. Unipro, meanwhile, reported a stellar year for the facial skin care industry, with a 7.1% boost in sales to ¤997.6 million. The UK industry also had a good year, as sales reached nearly ¤670 million, representing both value and volume growth of 6% according to Taylor Nelson Sofres.

Why is this woman smiling? She’s using a skin cream that contains pro-endorphin complex. The same stuff that makes people happy.

For those surprised at the respective rankings of the European countries, per capita figures supplied by Mintel should answer all questions. In 2001, based on the population aged 15 and above, French consumers spent on average ¤32.1 a year on facial skin care products. Italy is next at ¤20.3, followed by the UK (¤16.2) and Spain (¤11.7). In last place was Germany at just ¤10.7.

However, penetration figures from Taylor Nelson Sofres reveal that Germany ranks second in terms of product usage, suggesting that their low spending rate is based on a preference for mass market brands rather than selective labels. An average of 81.7% of German consumers use a skin care product in an average week, compared with 87.8% of French, 74.2% of British, 64.6% of Italians and 62.6% of Spanish.

These figures vary wildly when it comes to the different age groups, but in general terms, women aged 20-24 are slightly more likely to use a moisturizer than women aged 25-35 in France, Germany and the UK. Naturally, the figures rise sharply once women hit 35, except in France where they appear to get more worried in their mid 40s. After 65, their interest appears to slacken (possibly in tandem with their skin tone), although the percentage level remains relatively high in France, the UK and Germany.

Pure Zone, the first launch under L’Oréal’s Dermo Expertise banner.

Who Buys What?
What is clear from these figures is that there is plenty of room for maneuvering among the under 20s and the 25-34 year olds, and it comes as no surprise therefore about the level of activity. In fact, this is just part of a move toward an increasingly segmented market, with products launched at very specific age groups and promising to speak directly to their different skin care concerns.

L'Oréal, for example, has reorganized its skin care offering for just such a purpose. It is gradually shedding the Plenitude brand and shepherding all its skin care products under the banner of Dermo Expertise, to join the Body Expertise range launched last year and the Solar Expertise which will hit European shelves this spring.

Beiersdorf, the German maker of Nivea and Diadermine, is also an expert at offering a skin care range segmented into age groups, and its Juvena brand is the latest to follow the trend. In April Beiersdorf added the Juvelia line for mature skin, boasting 20 amino acids derived from pearl and a yeast extract. That introduction joined Juvena and Juvenance lines.

The first new launch under the Dermo Expertise heading is Pure Zone, a skin care line which targets women aged 15-20 who tend to suffer from oily or combination skin. The five products all contain a sebum-reducing seaweed extract called Sebo-Calmyl and salicylic acid. The cleansing products include Deep Exfoliating gel wash with microbeads, Deep Purifying gel wash and Daily Deep Cleansing foaming cloths. These items are accompanied by Clarifying Lotion and Anti-Regreasing moisturizer.

What's in Prestige Channels
The prestige labels are also keen to tap into this youth market. March will see the launch of a new Lancôme line called LCM, Lancôme Expert Care for Young Skin. The six products will feature a combination of natural ingredients and pleasant textures. There will be two cleansers for normal/combination and normal/dry skin, while four moisturizers will tackle combination, oily, normal and dry complexions.

Cleansers and toners are often entry products for the younger consumers and a number of manufacturers have been concentrating on this area. Elesis has introduced a line of color-coded cleansers and toners for young city dwellers. These are said to help offset the effects of hard water and urban pollution and to help ease the stress of everyday city life. Gemey, meanwhile, has launched a line of makeup removers as a natural extension of its youthful color cosmetics line (think Maybelline). The lineup includes Lait en Eau, Gel Splash and Tonique Vivifiant.

A Course in Age Management
There is a fine line between age prevention and anti-aging products, and a feature of the market is the increasingly young age at which women are peering fretfully in the mirror and worrying about the real or imagined first signs of aging. However, as a rule, once women hit their 30s, they're fair game for products that promise to both minimize the existing signs of aging and to prevent the formation of new ones.

Nivea, for example, has introduced Nivea Visage Perfect Contour specifically for 30-somethings. It promises to improve elasticity and tighten the skin's contours with vitamin C, glycine and Proliftant, a synthetic polymer that mimics the epidermal tissue. Fellow German company Marbert launched Profutura 2000 eye cream for the same women, who are worried about wrinkles and dark circles in the eye area.

But manufacturers have noticed that consumers want to feel immediate results from their skin care products. Lancôme, for one, has responded with Impactive. It is based on something called Soft Skin technology which combines polymers with powders, plant oils and extracts for hydration while lycopene capsules stimulate collagen production. And when cosmetic intervention is becoming more commonplace in Europe, Givenchy pressed buttons with No Surgetics, which is said to reproduce the effects of collagen injections by using collagen fibroblasts to plump up wrinkles, while an ingredient called D-Compress takes the place of botox.

Dior Capture R60/80 from Christian Dior, meanwhile, is said to reduce the signs of aging by up to 60% in just one hour and to make skin look 80% younger in a month. The range comprises Extra-Vital Restoring serum, Ultimate Wrinkle crème, Wrinkle Eye crème, Intense Wrinkle Night fluid and Instant Ultra-Smoothing fluid. Each contains Dior's double performance R-complex, which reportedly tightens the complexion and rebuilds the skin's layers.

Stay Young, Stay Happy
Executives at Guerlain insist that happiness can make skin look more beautiful. The new Happylogy anti-aging line features a pro-endorphin complex said to accelerate the production of beta-endorphins in the skin, which in turn help recreate the natural effects of happiness when released in the skin. It helps fine lines vanish and leaves skin looking smoother and reinvigorated. The product is available as a serum (Happylogy Ultra Penetrating essence) and cream (Happylogy Day crème). Both provide a barrier against free radicals and a light signature fragrance of blackberry, pear, musk and vanilla.

The idea that skin care should be a pleasurable experience has also taken hold of the market. Decleor is well known for its aromachology approach and has launched Nutri-delice for dry skin. The products contain essential oils, vitamins E and B, calcium, zinc, magnesium, iron and cereal extract to clean, tone and pamper skin. The lineup includes Crème Fondante Nutritive, Crème Gourmande Ultra-nutritive and Masque Museli Nutrition Intense.

Nivea Boosts 2002 Results for Beiersdorf
It was another good year for Nivea. The brand’s owner, Beiersdorf AG, Frankfurt reported higher sales and record earnings for 2002 as German consumers continued to buy quality branded products despite the bad economic climate. The results indicate that sales held up even in the slumping German economy where Beiersdorf derives 28% of its sales, analysts said. Beiersdorf saw earnings before interest and taxes of $496 million for 2002, up 9.8% over the previous year and a new record. Net profit rose 2.5% to $302 million, Beiersdorf said, with a 4.4% increase in full year sales to $5.0 billion. Beiersdorf expects sales growth of 5% for 2003 and an increase in earnings.

The Nivea brand alone accounted for $2.7 billion in sales during 2002. Beiersdorf's cosmetics and medical goods sector grew 7.2%, to $3.3 billion in 2002, helped by the launch of several new Nivea products including Nivea for Men, Nivea Deo, Nivea Hair Care and Nivea Lip Care. In the past six months Nivea launched Nivea Visage in Korea, Nivea for Men in Japan, Nivea Baby in Hungary and Nivea Hand in Spain.

Beiersdorf continues to invest in its Nivea range, starting 2003 with the launch of a raft of new products including Nivea Bath Care, Nivea Body Firming lotion, Nivea Beaute and Nivea Hair gel.

Beiersdorf’s results, and the success of its brands which also include Elastoplast, Florena, Hansaplast, Juvena and La Prarie, are likely to catch the eye of U.S. rival Procter & Gamble Co. The company is said to be interested in acquiring a stake in the German consumer goods maker, although P&G has declined to comment. P&G would need to buy the 31% Beiersdorf stake owned by Tchibo Holding AG (G.TBH) in order to gain control of the company. Sources close to Tchibo say the company isn’t prepared to reduce its stake.

And for Older Women...
On a final note, the needs of menopausal skin are also being addressed. In France, for example, Evian (a joint venture with Johnson & Johnson) has widened its portfolio with two products formulated for women aged 45-55. Gel Lift and Gel Lift Contour both contain a complex of dimethyl amino ethanol and tyrosine to stimulate collagen production and produce both immediate and long-term anti-aging activity.

Laboratoire Uriage's Isovale contains phytosterols and phytosqualanes to hydrate the skin and prevent dryness, loss of firmness and diminished radiance. A biomimetic steroflavone and thermal water add the final touch of free radical protection.

So, whatever your age or skin type, there's a skin care product out there that wants to speak to you. Technology plus natural equals revenue, so we expect more products offering the latest science, the newest naturals and the nicest textures. And with tweens and teens opening new markets for manufacturers, we may see age management products aimed at even younger consumers in the future.