Europe’s Big 5 Puts Its Best Face Forward

By Katie Middleweek, European Cosmetic Markets | February 12, 2013

Facial skin care is always a thriving market but there have been some ups and downs in the past year, despite the fact that product innovation remained high.

Henkel’s new Diadermine Lift + Tono Perfecto Cream contains collagen extract to stimulate the skin’s natural collagen for firmer skin.

It was a successful year for French facial skin care as SymphonyIRI France figures showed that sales, excluding cleansing products, rose 4.3% to $331 million. The cleansing category itself was a little dull in comparison, falling 1.6% to $249 million in the past 12 months. When it came to the ever-popular serums, this sub-sector grew by an amazing 126.3% to nearly $18 million, making it a very welcome, and growing addition to the facial skin care sector in France. In other news, BB creams continued to be a growing trend in the facial skin care market and have been doing especially well in the mass market and are currently valued at $44.2 million.

But it appears as if the spike in sales of serums and BB creams has come at a cost to the other areas. Sales within the anti-wrinkle and anti-aging skin care category sagged 4%, falling to $208 million, while sales of regular moisturizers and nourishing skin care products drooped 5.4% to $49.5 million—a decline that surprised many people.

When it comes to NPD, serums have certainly had their success stories for luxury brands, one of the biggest of which is Lancôme Visionnaire, a product whose high profile launch in 2011 propelled it to be the number one luxury care product in France, and enabled the brand to record its best year in 15 years.

The serum, which contains the LR2412 molecule extracted from jasmonic acid, is said to recreate the look and feel of beautiful skin, and is claimed to have been so convincing in tests that after four weeks of use, one in two women planning non-surgical procedures postponed them. Word spread and sales smashed all expectations and the product went on to win Marie Claire’s Prix d’Excellence award. According to L’Oréal’s annual results, published last February, Visionnaire is “The first-ever fundamental skin corrector, protected by 20 patents.”

The company also claimed that Lancôme is continuing to grow thanks to its flagship products, Génifique, Rénergie and Teint Miracle.

Primed for Perfection

It was also good news in Germany, where SymphonyIRI reported facial skin care sales rose 1.9% to nearly $800 million. Once again, facial cream products made the biggest inroads, adding 3.2% to $576 million, while facial cleansing product sales topped $216 million, though this did represent a loss of 1.4%.

Skin care sales slumped 2% in the UK.
It’s no surprise that women purchase the vast majority of facial skin care products in Germany with the fairer sex accounting for 92% of sales. However, sales of men’s skin care products rose 14.9% during the past year, so it is good sign that men are increasingly waking up to their facial skin care needs.

On the new product front, German consumers continued lapping up their medical-type/doctor skin care brands. In this segment, Dermalogica is always a popular choice of consumers looking for a premium skin care SKU. During the past year, the brand introduced Age Smart SkinPerfect Primer SPF30 which, the company said, “combines cutting edge professional skin care technology with a polished cosmetic effect.”

The two-in-one product smooths, protects and conditions the skin while correcting surface irregularities and creating a luminous finish. The primer may be worn on its own or underneath makeup. The formula is said to include white tea, peptides and sodium hyaluronate, according to the company.

Bella Italia

Italy is the biggest market for facial skin care products in Europe. Sales last year rose 1% to more than $1.6 billion. That total includes sales of toners, moisturizers, masks, anti-aging products, bleaches, scrubs and even facial tissues and wipes. Italian women are almost as well known as the French for their love of facial skin care wares and certain categories posted sales increases that were better than the overall market; i.e., facial tissues and wipes were up 1.6%, anti-aging and wrinkle creams rose 2.5% and bleach products put on a healthy 3.6%.

When it came to new items hitting the shelves, 2012 was a milestone year for Collistar’s anti-aging line, as the Bolton Group unit expanded its Special Anti-Age line to include Collistar Bio-Revitalizing Cream with a collagen and hyaluronic activator. The production of collagen tends to slow down over the years gradually leading to skin losing tone and firmness, which leads to wrinkles. Collistar was inspired by aesthetic medicine, in particular, microinjections that reach the deeper layers of the skin
The success of this product is due to two factors. Firstly, the cocktail of active ingredients is lengthy. Composed of three types of hyaluronic acid each having a different molecular weight, three essential amino acids, six vitamins, 80 minerals and an active antioxidant extracted from ocean algae to protect against oxidative stress and block enzymes, which destroy collagen and elastin.

The second factor that boosts the formula enabling it to penetrate the deeper layer of the skin is the Vector Matrix roller, which is used after the cream is applied to roll the formula deep into the dermis for enhanced results that cannot be achieved by a topical action alone. The face cream is available in two versions for normal and dry skin and, alongside the Vector Matrix, a set of massage techniques is included to make the best possible use of the tool.

A Turn for the Worse

Things were not quite so rosy in Spain, however, as facial skin care sales fell 6.7% in the past year to $714 million. Volume sales also looked a little pallid, dipping 0.9% to 6.9 million units, according to SymphonyIRI Spain.

Looking at the sub-sectors more closely, one can see where these losses took place. Anti-wrinkle products fell 10% in value terms, eye creams declined 14.9% and night creams dropped 4.6%. In fact, the only sub-sector to register an increase in the past year was hydrating creams, which put on 11.6%.
Despite declining sales, many new products hit Spanish shelves last year, including everything from creams to gels to facial cleaning pads. Several retailers were among those to launch facial care products last year. El Corte Inglés included facial treatments as part of its Plantea cosmetics range, while The Body Shop also launched a kit for the summer that included day and night creams with aloe, and a facial spray with vitamin C that is designed to immediately hydrate and bring luminosity to tired skin.

Many of the 2012 launches, however, came from brands. Diadermine (Henkel), for example, added to its BB Creams line. The new Lift+ range combines anti-aging properties and cover for dark marks “for a natural look and perfect, radiant skin,” according to the company. The new products are Lift+ Tono Perfecto Cream, which contains collagen extract to stimulate the skin’s natural collagen for firmer skin, and Lift+ Lapiz Iluminador. The latter comes in pencil format to brighten the area around the eyes and remove signs of fatigue. Henkel says the unique texture with mineral micropigments covers imperfections to make the face look younger.

Limp and Lackluster

The UK facial skin care market, meanwhile, also had a somewhat disappointing year. Despite a slew of NPD, UK value sales slumped 2% to just over $1.2 billion, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Volume figures did, however, provide a bright spot on the horizon as sales here inched up 2.5% to more than 216 million units. Yet, all areas in the value sales arena declined in sales, including anti-aging facial moisturizers (-1.8%), essential care facial moisturizers (-3.3%) and facial cleansers and toners (-1.7%).
Despite the decline, customers were treated to some innovative new products including Youthful Eye Serum from Boots’ popular No7 brand, which just hit shelves last month. The product is the brand’s first ever clinically proven intense eye formula and is said to reduce, in just four weeks, the signs of aging in the delicate eye area. The formula contains hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and soft focus spheres, as well as ingredients for longer-term benefits including vitamin A, cassava and anti-aging peptides. Initial reports have suggested the product is selling well.

Overall, it’s been a year of ups and downs for the facial skin care market—some gains and some losses—but good innovation and healthy consumer interest all round.

One hopes that this year brings more of the same and that NPD activity lifts sales for all five countries.
Katie Middleweek
European Cosmetic Markets
Tel: (44) 020 7193 6862

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.
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