Russia Is One to Watch In European Skin Care

By Imogen Matthews, Consultant | February 7, 2014

Facial skin care is one of the more dynamic product categories within European cosmetics and personal care and a source of considerable new product development. There are two key trends for multifunctional products and targeted treatments, which are pulling the market in two directions, yet they often both form part of consumers’ skin care regimens.

A mature market, in more than one sense, sales of European facial skin care are estimated by Datamonitor to top $17.6 billion in 2013, an increase of 3.7% over 2012. France leads Europe with sales of $3.8 billion, reflecting a more sophisticated market that leans toward premium brands. Germany weighs in at $3.1 billion, followed by Italy at $1.8 billion, the UK at $1.8 billion and Russia (which has overtaken Spain) at $1.3 billion.

Russia’s position as the fifth largest European country for facial skin care has been achieved through high growth of 8% year-on-year and further average growth of 9% predicted up to 2017. Russian women are pretty sophisticated in their choice of facial skin care product, favoring a multi-product routine that includes toners (currently falling out of fashion in the UK), anti-aging treatments, night creams and fade creams. It really is the country to watch.

Anti-Aging for All
Overall, anti-aging products are the key drivers to growth in Europe and where most new product development takes place. An aging population concerned with holding onto their youth is an important target, although many skin care brands segment their offerings to include anti-aging treatments for a younger demographic more interested in looking after their skin in order to avoid premature aging. For example, Darphin’s Ideal Resource range includes Wrinkle Minimizer Perfecting Serum and Micro-refining Smoothing Fluid, aimed at women in their 30s. 

According to Kantar Worldpanel, 33% of European women use anti-aging/anti-wrinkle products, rising to 39% of Spanish and 35% of French. Added SPF is of differing importance by country, averaging out at 12% and strongest among Spanish and British skin care users. Only one in 20 French women actively seek out SPF in skin care, the lowest of the leading five European countries.

Oru Mohiuddin, senior analyst, beauty and personal care research, Euromonitor, noted the trend toward higher priced serums.
“Consumers prefer to buy more targeted products such as serums when looking for anti-aging benefits, but even these have multiple features. Lancôme is the pioneer in high-priced serums with Génifique and the trend is now more widespread,” she said.

Lancôme’s Advanced Genifique youth activating concentrate (left) is billed as a powerful anti-aging serum. Clarins Double Serum (right) is a two-phase system offering multiple benefits.
Lancôme has developed the technology further in its Absolue Sublime Regenerating Oleo-Serum that offers a new texture sensation by combining the nourishing aspects of oil with the silkiness of a serum. Another innovative take on serum comes from Perricone MD Blue Plasma, which is a self-styled “liquid serum exfoliator,” designed to tackle dull looking skin and enlarged pores. Clarins Double Serum is a two-phase system offering multiple benefits, including firmer, smoother-looking skin, a more even, glowing complexion and less visible pores.

“The trend is for healthy-looking skin, not just wrinkle-free skin,” affirmed Mohiuddin. “It’s all about illuminating the skin and glow is everything.”

This is especially true for women over 50 who are more accepting of wrinkles and are more concerned about looking the best they can be. Surprisingly few European women use tinted versions of their face care products. Just 2% claim to use them, rising to 4% among German women. Kantar Worldpanel’s figures include only BB creams that are marked as a tinted moisturizer; those classified as a makeup are not counted in skin care.  

Euromonitor is noticing a new development for natural brightening products within the moisturizer sector.

“Smart moisturizers using adaptive technology create natural illumination of the skin and I can see that they could overtake the market for foundations,” said Mohiuddin. “Whereas consumers would look for thick coverage, now they want light coverage which looks natural.”

L’Oréal Paris Skin Perfection, for example, is said to transform the appearance of skin quality by evening out imperfections, enlarged pores and uneven skin texture, much as a foundation might claim to do.

Cleanse Twice a Day
According to Kantar Worldpanel, 79% of European women use cleansers, rising to 86% among the French, who use them twice a day as part of their facial skin care routine. Typically, German and British women also use cleansers twice daily, while Italian and Spanish women are slightly less frequent users.

Only one in three European men use cleansers and those who do tend to use them less frequently, just once a day. British and German men are slightly ahead of the European trend, although there is still significant potential for growth.

The most popular cleansing formats are facial washes and scrubs that are used by 37% of Europeans. One in two Italians use these types of cleaners, the highest of the five leading European countries. Traditional cleansing lotions represent just 11% of European usage and are lowest in France and Germany. Cleansing wipes usage differs by country and is highest in Britain, where 35% of women choose this format, compared to 27% of Spanish, 22% of Italian and 22% of German women. Usage is lowest in France, where only 13% of women use cleansing wipes.

Cleansing oils are starting to make an appearance, positioned as deep cleansers with nourishing benefits.

“These products do not compete with gel-based cleansers, which tend to be abrasive to the skin,” said Mohiuddin. “Oils compete more with milk cleansers and are suitable for older, drier skins.”

L’Oréal Paris has launched a new cleansing format under its Skin Perfection brand called 15 Second Miracle Cleansing Oil, which claims to dissolve waterproof makeup and rebalance the skin’s natural oil production for healthy skin. Other cleansing oils include Origins Clean Energy, a non-comedogenic formula containing sunflower, sesame and safflower oils designed to remove dirt, makeup and pollutants, according to the company.

For now, the focus is likely to remain firmly on anti-aging skin care solutions and treatments and the market is likely to diversify in terms of new technology, formats and textures. Increasingly, brands will target by age and by skin care concern, leading to more personalized solutions. 

Imogen Matthews
Headington, Oxford UK
Tel: +44 1865 764918

Imogen Matthews is a respected consultant, journalist and researcher focusing on trends in the beauty industry. She regularly contributes to many of the world’s foremost beauty trade titles. Every year in April, she publishes The Premium Market Report, focusing on trends in the UK premium beauty markets.