Everybody Posts Good Sales In European Body Care

By Georgina Caldwell, Associate Editor, European Cosmetic Markets | May 29, 2007

The European body care market was buoyant in 2006, with every country reporting a rise in value sales. France put in the smallest rise in percentage terms, however, for the flat French market, the 2.7% gain represents a significant coup for the body care sector. According to ECM calculations, based on figures from the Fédération des Indu-stries de la Parfumerie, the body care market totalled $715 million in 2005. Furthermore the market’s 2.7% increase belies some considerable achievements for individual body care sectors and channels. Most impressive was the performance of the pharmacy channel, which put on 20.5% to $302 million, bolstering its lead on the other channels. And anti-cellulite and firming treatments are fast becoming the body care item of choice for the majority of French consumers; the subsector grew 9.1% for a total of $236 million, closing the gap between itself and body moisturizers, the largest subsector by value.

In Germany too, body care experienced a revival, with a 3.7% increase on 2005 figures, to reach $611 million in 2006, according to IRI Germany. Regular body care is again losing out to more specialized treatments—anti-aging, products for very dry and sensitive skin, gradual tanning and treatment sectors—all gaining in value.

Italy’s body care market also showed a voracious appetite for specialist creams, helping the total Italian body care sector reach a value of $736 million in 2006, according to ECM calculation based on figures from Unipro—a stunning increase of 6.3% and one of the best performances in the entire Italian cosmetics and toiletries market last year. The greatest rise came from the anti-cellulite subsector, which gained a healthy 14%.

The small but perfectly formed Spanish market is also catching on and climbed 13.8% in 2006 to reach $164 million, according to figures from Fragrancias y Cosmética. Again anti-cellulite treatments were the big movers, with a jump of 38.1% in value sales.

The UK market was also in fine form, with body care sales leaping 9% to $576 million for the 52-weeks ending March 25, 2007. Here, lotions and milks provided the winning formula, climbing 16%, while all other formats lost value, according to TNS Worldpanel. The gradual tanning format has saved the day for the UK market, with TNS attributing buoyant sales to this subsector alone.

Penetration figures confirm the European-wide preference for more specific body care. Across the Big 5 the average penetration amounted to 38% for specific body products, while general moisturizers accounted for 17% of regular body care users in the 12 months to December 2006, according to TNS. On average European women favor firming benefits (15%) over soothing or olfactive benefits, though this is skewed by the French, where firming takes a 21% share. In Italy, fragrance is a greater priority, whereas in the UK, firming and olfactive benefits are of equal importance. 

Follow the Leader

Nivea is the body care leader in Europe, followed by Yves Rocher in second, Avon in third place and Dove in fourth. L’Oréal Paris is the fifth most popular brand, according to TNS.

In terms of product launches, there were two dominant trends Europe-wide: a rush of natural and organic body care products and a rush on anti-cellulite creams. Last year’s big news, gradual tanning, saw little launch activity as nearly all of the big players have now entered this sphere in various guises.

In Spain, however, L’Oréal saw fit to launch Leche Hidratante Nutri Doré, a progressive tanning lotion, while Nivea Summer Beauty made a splash on the European market.

The naturals market was positively flooded with launches claiming to harness the power of natural actives.

Traditional English fragrance brand Floris brought out its first stand-alone body care range, Natural Benefits, with products formulated with organic ingredients. Fellow Brit Crabtree & Evelyn rolled out its India Hicks Island Living line, with ingredients indigenous to the Caribbean island that is Hicks’ home. German Frei (Apotheker Walter Bouhon) launched a winter-specific massage oil, Massagöl Winter Wellness, with cinnamon and orange essential oils.

Here in the naturals sector and also in the dry skin sector, is where manufacturers can really seek to close the gap on seasonality in the body care market, by introducing variants adapted to winter weather conditions and flavors that bring to mind the gourmand flavors and scents associated with the Christmas season.

American-born Philosophy is a master at this strategy and brought its Eggnog, Cinnamon Buns and other seasonal lotions to the UK this year, though other companies considering this strategy may well like to take note of the still very different approach to festivities from country to country in Europe. Eggnog is a mystery for many UK consumers, as turkey and Christmas pudding, a brandy-laced fruit cake, is the traditional fare, while the Italians eat Pannetone and fish on Christmas day. French-speaking nations tend to celebrate la reveillon (Christmas Eve) with a chocolate bouche de noel, while German and Dutch nations celebrate with heavily-spiced biscuits.

Of course, seasonality in the market has largely arisen from the fact that most Europeans don’t even think about the state of their bodies until the pressure mounts to look good on the beach, which is why anti-cellulite treatments, firming lotions and gradual tanning products have become increasingly popular.

The pharmacy brands have the anti-cellulite market well and truly covered and undoubtedly benefit from the medical association many of their names imply. Phytomer, for example, brought out Advanced Cellulite Soothing Emulsion Ultim Reflex.

Meanwhile, the mass market is gearing up to provide increasingly more complicated and technical solutions. First came the cream, then came the patch, now comes the electronics—that seems to be L’Oréal’s mantra, with this year heralding the launch of Garnier Bauchstraffender Noppen-Roller in Germany, a massage device and caffeine-based gel.

The youth market is also high on the agenda, with manufacturers keen to hook younger women into a body care regime. In Italy, Kélémata’s Venus was the main pretender, while French Lierac bought out Centimétric in France, the cream is aimed at younger consumers and claims to reduce cellulite and slim down body contours as well as addressing stretch marks induced by hormonal changes.

Stretch marks have become one of the newest targets for body care marketers. Several manufacturers have latched on to the potential of the market this year and no doubt we will see more launches in the coming months. Clarins, for example, introduced Stretch Mark Control and RoC (J&J) jumped in with Retinol Anti-Stretchmarks in celebration of the brand’s 50th anniversary.

Beauty on the Inside

Nutraceuticals are no doubt next on the agenda, with pills now available to slim down, maximize a workout, reduce fluid retention, boost nail growth and speed up the tanning process—not to mention the latest cosmetic yogurt bought out by Danone. Rumors abound that L’Oréal and Coca-Cola have teamed up to create a new health drink for middle-aged women and L’Oréal has already produced its own beauty supplements with nestle under the Inneov banner.

Expect to see more products targeted at older women in the next few years. Dove is leading the pack with the Pro Age range, but the mature market is under-populated in the body care arena, in contrast to the facial skin care market that has welcomed these specialist ranges with open arms in recent years.

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