Small Gains in European Color Cosmetics

November 6, 2006

Sales are up in the UK and Spain, but sales fall in Germany, France and Italy.

Small Gains in European Color Cosmetics

Sales are up in the UK and Spain, but sales fall in Germany, France and Italy.

By Georgina Caldwell
European Cosmetic Market

Never renowned for its predictability, the color cosmetics market experienced yet another volte-face in 2005 and despite 2004’s brief period of optimism, 2005 mark- ed a return to doom and gloom as across the Big 5 sales dipped 0.9% to $6.1 billion.

France’s color cosmetics market, for example, failed to capitalize on 2004’s unexpected gain and lost 2.9% overall for a total of $1.4 billion according to ECM calculations based on FIP figures.             Germany was no more encouraging, with the IKW admitting to a 5.8% decrease in 2005, for a total of $1.47 billion, while IRI reported a slightly more optimistic decline of 4.7%, albeit for a total that, excluding hard discounters was decidedly lower at $1.1 billion. Italy couldn’t offer much consolation, taking a downward turn to the tune of 1.6%, according to Unipro, to nearly $1.2 billion.

In the UK and Spain, however, it was a different tale. Spain’s sunny outlook saw sales jump 8.1% to $529 million, while the UK proudly hit the billion mark, growing an impressive 10.6% to more than $1.8 billion.

The penetration figures show that when it comes to makeup, European women are seeking a natural look or will not wear makeup at all.  According to TNS Worldpanel, just 21% of European women wear foundation in an average week, and those that do will certainly not wear face makeup every day. The UK commands the highest penetration for foundation, with 28%, while only 11% of German women see fit to apply foundation on a regular basis. Furthermore, of those that do apply foundation, some 46% of French women and 41% of Spanish and British women are after a natural look. In Italy this is less of a priority––only 20% of Italian women think that looking natural is important.

According to TNS, Yves Rocher is the most popular face make-up brand in Europe, followed by Avon in second and Maybelline NY (L’Oréal) in third. L’Oréal Paris comes in forth before Rimmel (Coty).

Despite a less than encouraging year, manufacturers didn’t seem to take this reversal of fortunes to heart and on both sides of the channel innovation was fast and furious. Several brands took the opportunity for a re-think, most notably The Body Shop, which followed up the staggering news of its acquisition by L’Oréal, by re-launching its entire makeup line with brand new packaging and formulations in September. The company is encouraging trial with a new free make-over service in store, named “Make me Fabulous.” German naturals brand Dr.Hauschka brought its makeup line back to UK shores in April with all-new packaging, new products and improved formulations.

Encouraging a considerably less natural approach was Playboy Beauty, which in February lent its iconic logo to an entirely new range, with lasciviously named products such as Pick Up liner, Mile High mascara and Calendar Girl lipstick. Another range to cross the Atlantic was Wet ‘n Wild (Markwins International) for customers that are looking for value for money. “Wet ‘n Wild’s reception in the UK has been fantastic,” says Tara Fox, UK brand manager. “After a hugely successful launch at New Look and Boots stores across the country, 46% of stock supplied was sold in just three weeks.” 

Facing Up to the Truth

As for the more established brands, new product development was no less prolific. So much so, in fact that a description of the average makeup product now reads like a manual for nuclear fission. Color cosmetics manufacturers have been busy researching the latest in technology and borrowing from virtually every sector in the cosmetics and toiletries market, so that you can now expect to see ingredients from hair care, skin care and sun care products pop up in your makeup.

Nowhere is this more true than the facial makeup category. Italian brand Collistar claimed to join the worlds of treatment and makeup with its latest product: Correttore Filler, which the company claims can fill lines and wrinkles to make for a flawless finish. Max Factor (P&G) got in on the game with Flawless Perfection makeup, including water resistant polymers and silica particles that are said to glide over fine lines and wrinkles and reduce the appearance of irregularities. Beiersdorf’s Nivea Beauté wasn’t to be outdone, with Energy Flash makeup, said to revive tired, dull complexions thanks to vitamins A, E and C and light-reflecting pigments.

Lancôme (L’Oréal) used a combination of pigments, translucent fillers and optical pearls to create Color Ideal, a foundation that is capable of mimicking the way that skin interacts with light to produce an exact color match on application. And the brand didn’t stop there. Using a biometric profiling tool at counters, Lancôme is able to recommend the most suitable product from Lancôme’s range to suit any customer’s particular coloring.

Shiseido, meanwhile bowed in with Dual Balancing foundation, which features photochromatic technology using a UV sensor to help adjust the depth of color in different lights.

Teenage concerns were also high on the agenda and several of the younger, more mass cosmetics brands brought out a plethora of bases to cover over blemishes and help heal while they conceal. Miss Sporty (Coty), for example, brought out Mini-Me concealer pen, a portable concealer for break-out emergencies, while the German Manhattan (Dr Scheller) revamped its Clearface range with Zinc-O-Derm Complex.


Eye makeup by no means escaped the onslaught of the ever more sophisticated product development and as usual the mascara category was flooded with products clamouring to build lashes to new heights.

Chanel, for example, brought out Inimitable, a mascara that benefits from research into the ultimate mascara wand. The wand is made from white elastomers, which are said to make for fine, supple bristles that can coat each lash, without clumping.

Chanel’s mass-market cousin, Bourjois, also waged war against clumps with Oui au Volume, Non aux Paquets (yes to volume, no to clumps). The mascara contains collagen micro-beads to leave lashes smooth and clump-free.

Dior (LVMH) turned to the hair styling category for its Diorshow Unlimited Ultra Lengthening Curving mascara, which combines adhesive polymers and styling waxes for coiffed eyelashes. L’Oréal Paris’ Telescopic mascara, meanwhile, is said to extend the lashes by up to 60% due to the company’s latest formula: Adhi-Plus, said to coat each lash with wax and Pro-vitamin B5.

German brand Astor (Coty) looked to principles of engineering for the aero-dynamic principles and thermo-mechanical complex it employed in Air max mascara. The formula uses volume spheres in the place of talc to bulk up lashes while the brush design is said to be borrowed from aerospace technology.

While it would be hard for any sub-sector to live up to the innovation seen in the mascara category, eye shadows put in a good effort to keep up with the Joneses. Usually innovation in this sector is restricted to seasonal palettes and cream versus powder textures, however 2006 was an exception to the rule.

Manufacturers have now fully realized the marketing potential of time-saving benefits and while a few fashionistas are still happy to spend hours blending and toning the latest colors, the rest of us mortals just want it to be laid out on a plate. And that is exactly what Bourjois did. Petit Guide de Style is a line of duo-shadow compacts that come with a mirror and instructions on how to apply both shades to achieve a professional finish.

Pupa (Micys) took this one step further with Eye Designer, which takes the leg work out of blending. The eyeshadow palette is fitted with a patented application system that combines an anatomical applicator, curved to cover the entire eyelid in one fell swoop with a sliding system enabling the sponge to collect two shades at once. Deborah made it easier to apply eye makeup on the go by combining eye liner and eye shadow in a double-ended pen.

Pursed for Perfection

The lip category continued in its pursuit of plumpness with several products promising a pout worthy of Scarlett Johanssen. Boots Time Delay brought out Lip Plumper with chili, clove oil and cinnamon extract, designed to create the desired bee-stung effect. Sally Hansen (Lornamead) got in on the game with Lip Inflation, with peppermint, ginger and cinnamon, as did Too Faced Cosmetics, who launched Too Faced Lip Injection in the UK.

Clinique (Estée Lauder) bowed in with Full potential Lips Plump and Shine, containing capsicum frutescens extract and ginger root oil to boost volume and reduce fine lines.

Gourmand flavors and scents are showing no signs of abating either, Aqquolina (Selectiva) in particular outdid itself with a comprehensive range of lip glosses covering every fruit and dessert imaginable. Flavors included crème caramel, blueberry, peach and apricot and aniseed-raspberry. Maybelline Jade brought out Shiny Liscious fruity glossy tubes, with a hint of strawberry, raspberry and plum, as well as intense color and shine.

Nailing It

This gourmand theme crossed over into the nail category with Rimmel bringing out new shades of Peach Melba, Milk Chocolate and Café au Lait in its French Manicure range. OPI (Lena White), meanwhile, concentrated on seasonal ranges, most recently introducing its Christmas range of deep chocolate, red and gold shades.

Otherwise, the two golden rules of nail polish for busy women (durability and speed) had Astor produce its 60 Sec Nagellack range of polishes that promise to dry in just one minute and Sally Hansen bow in with Diamond Strength Diamond Shine Base and Top Coat and Diamond Strength Nail Color.

Despite a disappointing year in purely financial terms, color cosmetics manufacturers aren’t prepared to lose the battle yet and are coming up with innovative ways to hook consumers into the category. Synergies with just about every product sector are bound to continue as products become more advanced, though manufacturers must surely be hoping that consumers don’t actually start to consider these do-it-all products as a one-stop shop––otherwise with foundations that are purporting to be skin care and sun care in one, what’s going to happen to the numerous face creams out there?

Still, hope is in the air, early figures from 2006 suggest that the German market may make it into the plus as the IRI reported a 2.8% rise for the first half of 2006 and the outlook was a little rosier in France, too. The first three quarters of 2006 showed that the mass market was down 0.5% to $438 million––but this is a marked improvement on the previous year.

European Cosmetic Markets is published monthly by Wilmington Media. It provides in-depth data and analysis of the European cosmetics and toiletries market. More info: Tel: (44) 20 7549 8626; Fax: (44) 20 7549 8622.