Polished to Perfection

By Katie Middleweek, European Cosmetic Markets Tel: (44) 020 7193 6862 | January 22, 2013

There is no doubt that it has been a vintage year for the nail care market in Europe. The past two years in particular have seen nail care products taking off in a big way. Gone are the days of the simple French manicure or the infrequent, special-occasion-only bright polish.

There is a color for everyone in the burgeoning nail polish category.
Instead, there are manicures available of every conceivable variety as well as nail wraps, gel tips and a plethora of new nail care products available.

Many big brands are slugging it out on shelf, by going up against each other this year in a bid to bring out the most colors or in order to have manicures of the most unique textures and finishes and the number of nail bars and salons opening has gone up in direct correlation with this trend.

Indeed, many retailers have also incorporated nail bars into their beauty halls—recognizing that manicures and pedicures have a much higher turnover rate than many other beauty treatments and also represent a more cost-effective treat for a customer who might be watching her euros.

To prove the point that this year has been a roaring success, each and every country in the Big 5 has posted growth in value terms indicating in the strongest possible terms that this category is certainly one to watch.

During the past year, the French nail care market has posted good gains, with a 10% growth in value terms, according to SymphonyIRI France. Sales are approaching $100 million in a category made up of nail varnish, care and base products which, taken separately, have posted gains of 12%, 2% and 7.5%, respectively. Prestige market sales have surged 20% to reach $28 million, according to NPD France.

Taking in other distribution channels, such as pharmacies, parapharmacies and specialist stores, the overall nail market is now worth an estimated $231.4 million, according to Mintel.

In terms of new product development, the French market stuck to its homegrown brands when it came to making the biggest impression, especially when it came to bright and bold colors. Dior’s (LVMH) Grand Bal Christmas collection, inspired by the spirit of grand balls, includes four new additions to the Diorific Vernis collection: Marilyn, Diva, Diorling and Lady, spanning red, sparkly black, gold and white.
Meanwhile, YSL’s (L’Oréal) Northern Lights holiday collection includes La Laque Couture, a topcoat which gives a high-shine finish and light-reflecting sparkle to a base color.

Orly’s Naughty or Nice holiday collection is said to be an opulent palette of decadent hues, from daring reds to shimmering plums and champagne golds, plus a sparkling blue tone.

Estée Lauder’s recent addition to its Pure Color Nail Lacquer line is its Red Hautes Collection, five shades of red, spanning day and night time hues and suitable for subtle accents of color or bold statements.

A Good Year in Germany
According to SymphonyIRI Germany it was an even better year for nail care in Germany with sales of nail polishes rising 20.2% to exceed $130 million. Volume sales also grew, but by a more modest 15.6%, to nearly 43 million units—although this was still a significant improvement on the previous year.

With all the signs pointed in the the right direction, local company Artdeco Cosmetics wasted no time in offering customers exactly what they seemed to want in nail color.

Under its Misslyn brand name, Artdeco rolled out a range of nail polish strips which are nail polish foil wraps made of dry nail polish and available in a wide variety of colors and styles including tiger print, zebra print and a variety of floral designs. The brand suggests that the user wear a topcoat on top of each nail polish foil for extra durability. This launch, and others like it, directly target the younger consumer and are geared toward consumers who want to experiment with new trends and styles.

Nails in Fashion
In Italy there was more good news for the sector as industry trade body Unipro reported that sales within the general hands and nails category rose 6.2% to exceed $288.4 million. Within this category, sales of nail products have grown a healthy 12.2%, and accounted for nearly 50% of category sales.
As with many areas of Italian life, inspiration for new nail products comes directly from the catwalk.
Fashion brands have always released color collections in hues that reflect the style and themes of their clothing, as a clever way to allow younger consumers to access the brand. At Dolce & Gabbana, the fashion house matched its nail polish collection to its spring/summer line of delicate pastel colors with a retro, feminine feel.

The bouquet collection featured six pastel tones with a semi-matte finish: Lemon, Mint, Water, Rose Petal, Anise and Lilac.

And last year the nails that prowled around fashion week became almost as much of a talking point as the clothes themselves. Striking colors, intricate designs and even elaborate jewels were seen decorating models’ hands. Almost every designer now has a nail team backstage, and nail color and nail art has become a fashion accessory in itself.

During the most recent Milan fashion week, bright oranges, pinks and blues dominated many of the spring shows, including Prada.

At Giorgio Armani neutral colors such as nude, gray and white took center stage, while at Missoni, strong metallics were a running theme and numerous other designers opted for intricate designs, according to the company.

Nailing Usage
Spain’s economic woes are well documented, yet there was good news on the nail front. Perhaps because Spanish consumers considered getting their nails done or buying a new polish as a relatively inexpensive treat during troubling times.

According to the latest figures from SymphonyIRI Spain, nail care sales rose 10% to $122.8 million. Nail polish sales rose 10.8% to $69.1 million, while nail polish remover and treatment products got a boost to the tune of 12.7% to total $23.4 million.

The growth in the category has been fuelled by a number of new launches. OPI (Coty), for example, introduced its Holland collection to Spanish perfumeries and the El Corte Inglés nail bars at the start of the summer. The 12-SKU collection, a mixture of neutral and more intense tones, is said to be inspired by different colours associated with the Netherlands. It includes A Roll in The Hague, an orange hue, and Kiss Me on My Tulips, a shade of pink. What’s more, the collection does not contain formaldehyde or DBP and comes with the OPI Pro Wide brush for perfect application, according to the company.

A Glossy Finish
The nail care sector in the UK has also gone from strength to strength with value sales rising more than 7% to nearly $367 million, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Unit sales, too, were strong, rising nearly 9% to almost 87 million units.

In terms of NPD, there has also been a lot going on to keep UK consumers interested. At the end of last year, Nails Inc. launched its Magnetic Effect Polish in a range of different colors, which creates a chevron patterned effect. Once the polish is applied to the nail, the magnetic lid is then held above it to manipulate the polish into the design. Following its success, Nails Inc. began to experiment with other patterns that could be created from the same technology and went on to launch its Fishnet Magnetic Effect Polish in several shades including Soho, a dark gray, and Spitalfields, a racing green.

Acknowledging the success and potential of magnetic technology, other British brands soon started to follow suit launching their own versions of magnetic polish in different designs. Barry M, for example, launched its Instant Nail Effects Magnetic in nine different shades and designs.

It can be seen that nail care has had a very successful past year and all signs suggest sales gains will continue into 2013. This increase has provided a much-needed infusion of cash into a somewhat flagging sector within Europe’s biggest economies.

European Cosmetic Markets is published monthly by HPCi Media Limited. It provides in-depth data and analysis of the European cosmetics and toiletries market. For subscription details contact HPCi Media Limited.