Facial Skin Care Sales Keep Europeans Smiling

By Katie Rodgers, European Cosmetic Markets | February 5, 2009

The facial skin care market, a stalwart of the European cosmetics and toiletries industry, has remained buoyant during the past year. There was good growth in most areas, particularly in France, where the market grew an impressive 7.7%. The UK and German markets showed similar levels of growth and Italy brought up the rear showing a minor, albeit encouraging, rise. This would seem to be a sign that, on the face of it, the future of facial skin care in Europe has a rosy hue.
The French facial skin market shows no signs of withering in the current economic climate, according to figures to industry body FEBEA. The French, traditionally among the most prolific users of skin care worldwide, were still parting with their euros for their skin care wares, as the sector grew 7.7% in 2007 to $3.2 billion.
On the retail side, the mass and pharmacy channels recorded double-digit gains. Growth in the mass channel soared 11.8% to $920 million, while pharmacy sales shot up to $961 million, an equally impressive rise of 11.3%. Good sales were also recorded in the smaller selective channel, which rose by 5.8% while the direct sales channel was the only one to experience a loss, dropping by a disappointing 4.4%.

A Lot of Launches in France

Launch-wise, French manufacturers were as busy as ever and innovation in the natural and organic sector was as evident as ever. French luxury brand L’Occitane en Provence has taken a bespoke approach to its new organic skin care range, Olivier Bio, which is based on organic olive plant extracts. The five-SKU range includes Ma Crème Nature, consisting of a concentrate made from organic olive oil and olive leaf extract, and a cream base containing olive leaf extract and shea butter. The two formulas are mixed to create the treatment, which has a shelf life of four weeks and must be stored in the fridge.
Ekia, a new French brand, claims that 99% of its ingredients are natural or of natural origin. The range, which has been created specifically for mature skin, includes a 100% natural fragrance (orchid accord, green tea and vanilla) and is paraben-free. In addition, all packaging is recyclable and products include stimulating Crème Initiale, repairing Crème Intense, revitalizing Crème Extreme and Sérum Fermeté, a firming serum containing marine plant extracts.
Amid gloomy economic times, the German facial skin care product sales rose 5.16% to $962 million, according to IRI Germany. That’s quite an impressive gain considering that Germany has officially been in a recession for the past three months. More specifically, facial cream sales totalled $689 million, while facial cleanser sales totalled $273 million.
The German drugstore sector posted the best results, followed by perfumeries, which is always a good channel for skin care purchases in Germany.
As in France, natural is the theme in Germany, with many companies striving for BDIH approval, the nationally recognized standard of natural and organic excellence. Dr. Scheller, which earned the seal, recently launched its Das Naturkonzept range. The lineup includes several day and night creams, serums, eye creams and anti-wrinkle creams. Das Naturkonzept doesn’t contain silicones or parabens, and is housed in recyclable packaging to further add to its eco-conscious appeal.

Eyes Are a Focal Point

The facial skin care sector in Italy, traditionally one of its biggest money-makers, grew 2.6% in 2007 to $1.7 billion, according to Unipro. Although the gain was smaller than the previous year’s rise of 3.9%, it was encouraging nonetheless and was largely due to the success of the anti-aging sector, and the plethora of new products available to the Italian consumer. Despite this positive news, not all sub-sectors showed promise. The facial toner sector dipped 1.3% to $62 million while moisturizing and nourishing creams fell 0.3% to $420 million. Eye creams, however, had a great 2007, as sales rose 9.8% to $196 million.
Italian women are known for looking younger than their years, which may be due to the fact that they are bombarded with bespoke creams from international and domestic manufacturers. For example, Italian company Cera di Cupra introduced the Cera di Cupra Pelli Mature lineup for mature skin. Products in this line have been specifically designed to fight aging and the sign of wrinkles in more mature skin. Interest in eye creams is soaring in Italy and Siero Contorno Occhi is a specific treatment for this area. The serum is said to be an efficient solution to skin sagging around the eyes. Its active ingredients are based on soy proteins that claim to improve circulation and protect elastin and collagen from free radicals.
Lastly, the UK facial skin care market also showed promising growth in 2008, gaining 6.2% to reach $1.3 billion, according to data from TNS Worldpanel.

Keeping Up Appearances

Although not as impressive as the figures from 2007 (when the sector jumped 21.5%), this more modest rise was still reassuring considering the economic climate and a sign that Brits still invest in their skin care routine, as long as manufacturers are prepared to cater to their needs. Facial moisturizers took the lion’s share in the value side of the market with a 55.7% share, compared to 44.3% for facial cleansers and toners combined. Meanwhile, pack volume leaped an impressive 8.8% to 139.28 million units.
Regarding skin care product launches, the British were spoiled for choice, enjoying a flurry of activity, much of it from domestic brands. Home-grown British company A’kin recently launched a gel crème for oily skin called A’kin White Tea & Aloe Vital Hydration Gel Crème. Vitamins B5 and E were also included in the formula to rehydrate and refresh the skin. Meanwhile Decléor (Shiseido) extended its anti-aging portfolio with the Expression de L’Age range, which includes two products—Radiance Smoothing Cream and Relaxing Eye Cream—both featuring natural extract of hibiscus.
UK spa brand Elemis extended its Pro-Collagen range in 2008 and launched the Pro Collagen Quartz Life Mask. The mask is a complex of ingredients including quartz, Padina pavonica and moringa oil, while argan tree oil is said to form a network of proteins to support skin cohesion for a skin-lifting effect.
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