It’s a Bum Wrap For Body Care

By Imogen Matthews | June 2, 2014

Body care has some way to go before it catches up to facial skin care in European markets. A much smaller and less sophisticated market, body care was valued by Euromonitor at $4.3 billion in Western Europe and $900 million in Eastern Europe in 2013, but neither market is showing much in the way of growth. However, the outlook is not at all bleak, with strong innovation from major players and growing interest by women in using body care as part of a regular body care routine.

According to Euromonitor, Germany and France are the largest European body care markets, worth $814.8 million and $736.4 million, respectively, followed by the UK at $583.7 million and Italy at $582.7 million. All the major markets posted either flat or slightly declining sales. The fastest growth markets were Turkey, valued at $141.3 million, up 11.2% in 2013, and Poland, which put on a modest 2.1% to reach $149.3 million. 

Neither is body care growing much at the premium end. According to NPD Group, France and Italy dropped 11% in value in 2013 to $63.4 million and $79.3 million, respectively. Sales of premium body care in the UK were flat at $90.1 million and only grew in Spain, which posted a 6% increase to $30.1 million. Spain recovered nicely after big losses in 2012, with anti-cellulite products, body spray and multi-benefit sets all posting double digit growth this year.

Despite poor sales figures, one in three Europeans use a body moisturizer in an average week, according to Kantar Worldpanel usage data for 2013. Germans and Polish consumers are the most engaged in the category and have a particular preference for body lotion. Italian consumers like to use body cream, while  the French are least likely to use body lotions—Kantar Worldpanel suggests a predilection for body milks.

Seasonal Opportunities
Europeans tend to use body care products all year round, rather than as a seasonal activity. Once again, it is the Germans who are the most engaged, with 81% of women using body care all year round, compared to 65% of French women who are more likely to use it occasionally throughout the year (23%). Interestingly, Mediterranean countries over index for using body care in summer, while Russia over indexes in winter, highlighting obvious targeting opportunities for different types of product designed to tackle extreme heat or cold. Despite having a similar climate to Russia, Polish women do not show the same tendency toward winter usage with the majority using body care year round.

“Those that do use (body care) are engaged with their product, using it regularly in the week and throughout the year,” said Maya Zawislak, an analyst at Kantar Worldpanel. “Among these users the key focus will be about trying to drive more usage occasions or trading them up to more innovative and expensive formats.”

Regarding seasonality, Zawislak advised brands to focus on pushing the right variants, such as SPF, after sun, gradual tan or extra care at the appropriate time of year.

One of the biggest challenges for body care manufacturers is that two thirds of Europeans do not use a body moisturizer. According to Zawislak, their key barrier is they simply don’t see a need for them.

“Brands will need to look further into what triggers use,” she maintained. “Is it older females treating dry and wrinkled skin? Or is it younger girls wanting to improve skin texture or soothe skin after shaving?”

Brands will find more white space opportunities, such as Nivea In-Shower Body Moisturizer and Vaseline Spray & Go Body Moisturizer. Nivea’s newest innovation is used after washing with shower gel or soap, like a hair conditioner for the skin that is rinsed off. The formulation leaves no greasy feeling, which means you can get dressed straightaway. Vaseline Spray & Go Body Moisturizer claims to be the first aerosol-style moisturizing spray on the market that dispenses lotion quickly and evenly. The formula contains Stratys-3 multi-layer moisture, which is said to absorb into the skin in seconds.

Many of the newest body care launches have multifunctional benefits, following the trend seen in other beauty markets. Although fragrance and function are important, consumers are more likely to seek out performance benefits and sensorial experiences. Recent Kantar Worldpanel usage data shows that softening and moisturizing skin is of greatest importance to British users. Improving skin texture is also a high priority among European consumers, with the exception of Italians, for whom it has little relevance.

Sensorial Sensations
Body care terminology is evolving to reflect the trend toward more sensorial textures, such as Origins Ginger Soufflé whipped body cream and Sanctuary Spa Crème Soufflé which are designed to appeal to consumers looking for formulations that offer more than basic moisturization.

Spa-themed body care has been a strong feature for some years and remains popular with consumers looking to replicate the spa experience at home. A recent newcomer to body care is the British chocolatier Hotel Chocolat Cocojuvenate range based on cocoa derived from its St. Lucia plantation which is rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Last year, Sanctuary Spa extended its Active Reverse anti-aging facial skin care range with a body care line featuring hard-working actives. One of the products is Resurface & Refine Ultra Polish that uses exfoliating particles based on micro-silicates (fossilized seashells) and up to five times smaller than in a normal scrub. The idea is to get maximum benefit from minimal effort.

Just as in facial skin care, oils and serums are making their way into modern body care products and are excellent carriers for active ingredients as well as providing light, long-lasting and non-stick formulations. Argan +, which uses argan oil, baobab, kukui, moringa and sacha inci, includes a Dry Body Oil targeting stretch marks and skin elasticity and Body Sculpting Serum for use on hips and thighs for smoother and firmer skin.

As body oils gain popularity in European body care, it is likely the category will follow hair care with multi-benefit body oils, possibly bearing the BB or CC descriptor. Expect to see more body care launches with added SPF, anti-aging claims and firming/anti-cellulite variants as body image becomes increasingly important.

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.