Washing habits differ by country, according to Kantar Worldpanel data, which shows that shower product usage is highest in Germany (91%) and Spain (92%) and least popular in the UK (76%) and Russia (75%). Although shower product penetration in France is slightly lower at 87% compared to Germany and Spain, French consumers use shower gels more often, averaging 6.7 times a week compared to the European average of 5.8.
Shower gels are the most popular format used by Europeans, especially in Spain where 89% of consumers use gel. In contrast, in Italy, gel usage among consumers is just 35%, but 25% of consumers prefer to use a shower foam. A further regional difference is that UK consumers are enthusiastic users of body wash at 36% compared to the European average of just 10%.
Unsurprisingly, washing benefits are what European consumers mostly look for in a shower product (82%), apart from in Italy and Russia where fragrance is cited by over half of consumers. Russian and German consumers are also more likely to seek out cleansing benefits. Fragrance is also a key consideration for Russian, German and Italian users of products added to bath water.
Taking a shower is the most popular way Europeans like to keep clean and bath product usage is much lower, suggesting consumers view time in the tub as an occasional treat. It also reflects the fact that many apartments and houses do not have a bath.
In France, just 6% of consumers use bath products, compared to a high of 18% in the UK and Russia. Frequency of use is also very low at less than twice a week in most countries, except the UK and Russia, where consumers take a bath on average 2.4 and 2.2 times a week, respectively. Liquids are the most common bath additive format, although 1 in 10 Russian consumers prefer bath salts or cubes.
Consumers are increasingly looking for product solutions that offer functional beauty benefits which they can incorporate into their health and beauty routine, according to Datamonitor. This includes products containing antioxidants and vitamins or solutions to concerns such as weight loss and body contouring. For example, Guinot launched a “slimming” shower gel in Poland in 2014 which reportedly refreshes and relaxes while sculpting the body by means of a formulation enriched with caffeine and cherry stem extract, which is said to assist in fat breakdown and the reduction of fluid retention.
Jamie Mills, associate analyst, Datamonitor, commented on the increasing category crossover in terms of innovation.
“This is being driven by consumers searching for more complex product solutions and the growing need to cater to the convenience-driven consumer,” she observed.
So consumers are seeking out products that go beyond the traditional hygiene-oriented approach and offer enhanced beauty benefits.
Two key areas of crossover are with fragrance and skin care, according to industry experts.
“Demand for longer-lasting and characterizing scents is now moving from the fragrances space to new categories, with consumers increasingly factoring complex sensory benefits traditionally associated with perfume,” explained Mills.
For example, the Bourjois Gel Douche range, which launched in France in 2014, is available in two varieties, “Refresh Me!” and “Seduce Me!” The gels mimic the formulation and scents often found in perfume and include head notes of violet leaf and cucumber, heart notes of magnolia, neroli and sandalwood and base notes of tonka bean, a salt accord and white cedar. Another recent UK launch, which focuses on sensory attributes including fragrance, is the Original Source Squench range. Products include all-in-one moisturizing shower gels in Watermelon & Jojoba Oil, Blackcurrant & Moringa Oil and Pineapple & Coconut Oil. The formulations are said to leave the skin feeling “quenched,” nourished and revitalized.
Skin care benefits may be more common in bath and shower formulations, but a recent example of innovation comes in the form of Nivea’s In-Shower After-Sun Lotion for the Spanish market.
“After-sun has been traditionally applied to dry skin,” noted Mills. “Therefore by creating a wet format product, the application is much more convenient as it merges two separate steps in the personal care routine into one.”
Another related new launch is Sunkissed Exfoliating Tan Remover, an in-shower product containing a blend of fruit AHAs that removes fake tanning mistakes and preps the skin for tanning.
Spa into the Home
The trend for spa treatments in the home environment continues to offer a high innovation opportunity driven, in part, by value-conscious consumers in the wake of the recession.
“This, combined with a convenience-driven lifestyle, is resulting in demands for effective products that can replicate more expensive and time consuming spa treatments in the home environment,” states Mills. According to Datamonitor Consumers Q4 global survey 2014, in the UK alone, an average of 62% of consumers found that being cheaper and more convenient were key benefits of home beauty/grooming treatments compared with going to a salon. Champneys Distant Shores Shower Mousse combines spa-like indulgence with the sensory fragrance trend with an uplifting blend of grapefruit, lemon, orange peel and cedarwood oils, enriched with nourishing mango and passion fruit extracts.
An innovative example of this trend is Skinjay’s Shower Capsule system launched in France. It is an at-home spa system using showerhead technology combined with organic skin care capsules, which mimic coffee machine capsules. The varieties include Algo therapy, a concept designed to replicate a spa experience with the strapline: “time to take care of your skin and yourself when you wouldn’t have.”
There is no shortage of innovative ideas in bath and shower products, with many concepts borrowed from other categories. Expect much more in the way of crossover from fragrance and skin care in 2015.
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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.