According to Euromonitor, the European body care market was valued at nearly $3.9 billion in 2015, led by Germany and the UK, which produced sales of just under $700 million apiece. Body care sales in France reached $636.6 million followed by Italy at $474.7 million and Spain at $364.6 million. European growth to 2020 is forecast at just 0.5% CAGR, due to a declining Spanish market and flat prospects in the UK and Italy. Meanwhile, while the premium sector is driving sales in a number of categories, including makeup and facial skin care, the opposite is true in body care. NPD valued European body care at $188.1 million in 2015, which dropped by 4% in value year on year. Unit sales also witnessed a similar decline. None of the main markets experienced sales growth, with Spain the worst hit, declining 8% in 2015. NPD notes that the decline has been happening since 2012, with a 15% loss of value during the period.
In usage terms, the body care market is looking more robust. Kantar Worldpanel reports that European women use body care products nearly eight times in an average week as well as all year round. Frequency of body care usage rises to nine times a week for German women while Polish women top this, averaging 10.3 times a week.
Probably one of the key reasons for the high usage is that both German and Polish women have a tendency to use body care year round (66% and 60% respectively). Only in Italy do women use body care a lot less, averaging just 5.6 times a week. Italian and Spanish women are also more inclined to use body care only during the summer months.
The highest usage of hand care products is in Russia and Poland, reflecting the need to protect hands against the extreme cold during the winter months. Body lotion usage is very low here and used by approximately one in 20 consumers. Germany is the country with the highest body lotion usage at 31% of all women, followed by Great Britain at 20%, compared to the European average of 16%.
Why use body care products? Regardless of region, the reasons are quite similar in all countries: Hydration is No. 1, followed by softening and nourishing the skin. German women are particularly interested in hydration and look for the other two benefits a lot less frequently.
Despite the general perception that a product’s fragrance might contribute to a successful positioning in the beauty market, convenience is the key factor driving body care purchases by European consumers. Just over 60% of European shoppers look to obtain the best value for money and around 40% are influenced by ease of use or application in their skin care products. By contrast, sensory benefits influence only 25% of European consumers’ purchase decisions.
“Manufacturers should exploit European consumers’ ‘convenience-orientation’ and highlight these two key factors when promoting their latest launches,” noted Marilena Loparco, a researcher at Canadean.
Blurring the Lines
Canadean has tracked the progression of facial skin care trends into body care and is recording more launches offering multifunctional benefits.
“There has been a focus on improving the condition of facial skin and consumers have become more aware of the beneficial effects of specific beauty treatments,” said Loparco, who has noted that the latest innovations in European body care are extensions of the most impactful facial skin care launches. For example, the BB trend has moved into leg bronzing products, with L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze BB Summer Legs Moisturizer and Rimmel London Sunshimmer BB Skin Protector.
European consumers have taken to the new texture of facial oils that hydrate the skin without leaving it feeling greasy. As a format, they have yet to catch on in body care, but some brands are incorporating oils into formulations. Polish brand, Eveline Cosmetics Slim Extra 4D uses different oils by age group: Ultra Hydration 20+ has macadamia oil, Anti-Age 30+ has coconut oil, Anti-Age 40+ has cocoa butter and Anti Age 50+ has argan oil.
Another example is Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream All-Over Miracle Oil. The formula features tsubaki oil and works to deliver long-lasting moisturization; it is formulated for use on the face, body and hair.
Collagen has long been used in face cream formulations to improve skin elasticity and is now moving into body creams. Polish DermoFuture Precision Bust Shaping Treatment uses collagen and a “breastvol” complex to provide a lifting effect, according to the company.
Canadean research shows that 70% of Europeans believe that superfruits are effective in beauty and grooming products and superfruit-infused body products are gaining popularity. For example, Montagne Jeunesse’s body cream line includes The Body Smoothie, which contains buriti fruit, mangosteen and cupuaçu, a superfruit combination to improve the skin’s elasticity.
Asian influences are beginning to filter through into body care in terms of product concepts and ingredients. Loparco points out that the Asian concept of whitening a specific area of the body is still a new concept in Europe.
Dove True Tone Underarm Dark Mark Eraser is said to visibly reduce underarm dark marks after seven nights use.
“The brand links underarm dark marks to hair removal—a personal care routine most women take nowadays, which broadens its appeal,” said Loparco.
Meanwhile, Spanish-owned brand Mico Salud’s Micro-Serum is a novel body treatment idea that uses reishi, a mushroom used widely in traditional Asian medicine, dietary supplements, functional food and drink and facial skin care. This organic body treatment is said to help reduce skin irritation, soothe and rehydrate dry skin and reportedly helps eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis.
European consumers currently do not take their body care routine as seriously as they do their face and this may be holding back growth of the category. However, body care stands to benefit from investment in new formats and ingredients designed to encourage consumers to broaden their product usage.
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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.