Things Don’t Go Smoothly in European Body Care
Editor, European Cosmetic Market
The Big 5 countries have all reported a slight stagnation of their body care markets during the past year, with only Italy registering body care figures to be happy about. The Spanish, German and French markets saw little growth and the UK market even posted a decline. On a more positive note, there were myriad new product launches in this sector, proving that even if movement is slow, the investment is still there.
The French body care market saw rather trim success in the past year, recording a smaller gain than the previous year at only 1.2% growth to nearly $779 million, according to French industry body FEBEA. The selective channel, however, showed more promising movement, leaping 13.6% to $146 million. But disappointment continued in other channels, with mass rising just 0.8% and direct sales dipping 1.9%. Despite sales of anti-cellulite and firming products rocketing up the charts in France over the past few years, this sector was the one most heavily hit last year, plummeting 10.6% to $230 million. This was further compounded by lackluster pharmacy sales—being the largest channel for such products, its 18.8% decrease to $87 million made the most visible dent in the sector.
Not faring much better, the German body care industry was nearly flat in 2007, registering a tiny 0.2% growth reaching a value of $674 million and growing just 0.7% in volume to 192.2 million units, according to data from IRI. Adult body care accounted for the lion’s share of the overall total at $460 million, but it declined 1.6% while volume in this area also fell by 2.4% to 110.1 million units.
The most popular products for the German consumer remained the skin firming and anti-cellulite types, with the country enjoying a dearth of new product launches during the past year in this area.
L’Oréal, in particular, kept busy and extended several of its brands with new additions. The L’Oréal Paris Body Expertise lineup, for example, was extended with Perfect Slim Laser, described as a skin-tightening concentrate containing a cocktail of ingredients including Alpha-Koffein-Komplex. L’Oréal claims that the product offers a fast and effective treatment tackling cellulite and recommends that the concentrate be used as a two-week intensive treatment.
On the Up and Up
The Italian market was the only body care market in all of the Big 5 countries to register a significant growth of 6.8%, according to Unipro, bringing the market total up to an impressive $863 million. The most impressive gains in value terms (though not percentage gain), came from the softening creams and anti-cellulite creams subsectors, growing by 7.2% to $255 million and 7.5% to $153 million, respectively. Anti-aging products grew 10.1% climbing to $86 million.
Far from reaching the double-digit growth of the past, the Spanish body care market did not have a particularly promising 2007.
The mass channel’s value came in at $210 million at 13.2 million units, up 2.7% and 6.8%, respectively. Even though there was overall growth, the rate of increase represented a significant reversal than in previous years. There was good news across the selective channel though, as the market climbed by a more respectable 10% to a value of $34 million.
There were three reasons for the slump. First, the downturn in the Spanish economy has brought about an overall decline in consumer spending. Second, traditional formats such as body gels and creams are being squeezed out to make way for new formats such as body cream patches and roll-ons. Third, the growing number of consumers visiting salons and spas for treatments, instead of doing it themselves at home, could be a final factor affecting sales. This is a point borne out by the fact that Spain has the highest level of cosmetic surgery patients in Europe, with 400,000 cosmetic procedures in 2007, costing about $2,700 each. That is sure to put a considerable dent in disposable income.
Body Not So Beautiful
Rather than following in the glowing footsteps of last year’s sales boom, the UK body care market slowed down rapidly in 2007, even posting a 3.2% decrease to $610 million. Volume wise, it was also a disappointing year with unit growth falling 7.3%.
In terms of the total market, with the exception of creams/balms and scrubs, which increased by 5% and 1% respectively, most categories have fallen by the wayside. The body care sector dropped 4.5%. The “others” sector, which includes masks, oils and patches, saw the biggest loss at 28%. One bright spot, hand cream sales rose 2.8%. While 2007 was a difficult year for the body care category, there is still reason to be hopeful. The sheer amount of money continually pumped into new body care formulations and exciting new innovations aplenty, gives us reason to believe that manufacturers are not yet finished with the body care industry—even if it is going through a dry patch at the moment. UK posted a 0.2% decline of $1 billion in 2007. However, the mass market posted an impressive growth rate of 24.1%, boosted by the continued dominance of female celebrity fragrance launches that have saturated the UK market.
Elizabeth Arden made a splash in the UK with the M by Mariah Carey brand. Other celebrity launches in the UK interestingly came from U.S. sources such as Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Jennifer Lopez and Sarah Jessica Parker. But the market also took inspiration from celebrities closer to home—Coleen McLoughlin topped the fragrance charts last year and offerings from Katie Price (Stunning) Jade Goody (Jade) and Victoria Beckham (Coty’s Intimately Beckham) also made waves on the market.
So, if last year’s set of results across the Big 5 are anything to go by, 2008 should be a promising year for women’s fragrance. The signs are there that perfume innovation is still rife across all areas of the industry, with manufacturers jostling for poll position as to who can come up with the most attractive bottle, the most innovative marketing campaign and, naturally, the most admired scent. With so much invested in this area, there are sure to be exciting things to come!