According to data from Euromonitor International, sales of bath and shower products in Russia jumped 14% in 2015, compared to single digit growth or declines in other European countries. Sales declined 0.7% in both Italy and Spain, while France only managed 1.1% gain and the UK added 2.0% year on year. Russians bought enthusiastically right across the different product categories, including bath additives (12%), bar soap (14.2%) and body wash/shower gel (15%).
Kantar Worldpanel confirms that Russian and British consumers are most likely to use in-bath products, although the latter tend to take baths more regularly, as many as 2.5 baths a week. Women are three times more likely to take baths than men, according to Kantar. While Russians are most likely to use bath products to relax (59%), they also expect bath liquids to create a good lather (47%). By contrast, Italian and Spanish bathers are more practical and take a bath to cleanse and moisturize their skin.
A Quest for Natural
New research from Canadean’s Q3 global survey 2016 shows that natural remains essential for Europeans, with 54% of the region’s consumers being very or extremely concerned about the impact of chemicals on health and appearance, highlighting the importance of natural, free-from formulations. This concern is highest in Greece (76%), Romania (73%) and Hungary (72%).
The personal cleansing category is awash with brands based around natural ingredients—authenticity and provenance being key watchwords. Greek toiletries brand Korres started developing natural products out of the oldest homeopathy pharmacy in Athens in 1996 and it has grown to become an international brand, with partnerships in UK department stores including Selfridges, Harrods, Liberty, Bon Marché and Galleries Lafayette, as well as a strong showing in 11,000 points of sale in Greece. The brand ethos is about working sustainably with an extended network of ethical Greek businesses based on fair-trade principles. Korres formulations exclude specific synthetic ingredients, including silicones, and prints on pack the percentage of natural ingredients.
“We are an advocate of honest communication; the analytical ingredient table Formula Facts uploaded on our website indicates in a transparent and comprehensive way the Free-of list for each product along with its natural content,” noted Lena Korres, company co-founder and head of innovation. Its best-selling European bath and shower product is Santorini Vine, based on a Greek white wine grape indigenous to the island of Santorini.
Soaper Douper is entrepreneur Marcia Kilgore’s latest attempt to bring naturally-derived “masspirational” products to the public with formulas and packaging that respect the environment. The range includes Body Wash in three fragrance variants packaged in a bubble-shaped bottle that is made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic, mostly derived from plastic milk cartons. The formulations primarily use naturally derived ingredients and contain plant-derived foaming agents, such as soft sweet almond. At present, the range is on sale in London Liberty department store and online.
L’Occitane Aromachologie takes spa into the area of mood and behavior with its Relaxing, Revitalizing and Rebalancing collections, all of them formulated with essential oils. Rebalancing Black Soap is a reference to the soaps used in Middle Eastern hammams and is an olive oil-based soap paste with eucalyptus essential oil to cleanse and remove impurities from the skin. Another unusual member of the range is Rebalancing Infusions for Bath, a sachet that contains citrus fruit peel. Recent innovative natural-based shower gel launches noted by Canadean include UK Green People Quinoa & Calendula shower gel with gluten-free quinoa to lock in moisture and calendula to soothe skin. Yves Rocher has launched Mango Coriander Energizing Exfoliating shower gel in The Netherlands; it relies on fruit seeds, rather than environmentally damaging microbeads, to exfoliate skin.
Customization is gaining traction across beauty categories, including bath and shower. From Germany comes the 100% vegan Cosmetic Kitchen DIY Starter Kit Showergel Box which users can assemble themselves using different ingredients and fragrances. Beauty Kitchen, located in Glasgow, Scotland, sells a range of bath bombs, soaps and bath minerals containing 100% pure essential oils. The company runs workshops for consumers to make their own products and also sells a Create Your Own Bath Bomb Kit served up in a kilner jar.
Super Sensory Spa
For some time, spa-inspired products have been making their mark due to their association with relaxation and indulgence.
“Inspiring products from the professional salon and spa sector is a popular avenue to generate excitement,” said Jamie Mills, analyst, Canadean. “This is achieved through leveraging the luxury, superior sensory credentials and efficacy that comes with being associated with such establishments.”
Dutch-owned Rituals has been expanding its reach with new standalone stores in London and new product collections. Rituals of Light is a limited edition line of bath, shower and body products for the winter season that contain sweet orange and cinnamon.
“Our shower foams are our cult products as they are very innovative,” explained Rituals managing director Penny Grivea. “Rituals was the first brand to use specific pump technology, the first to have a shower foam that changes from a gel to a shower foam and the first brand to link bath and body with home fragrances.”
Mills sees further opportunities for expansion of spa products within personal cleansing.
“Brands can condense lengthier indulgent and relaxation-oriented treatments traditionally associated with bath products and make them applicable to shorter everyday rituals such as showering, cleansing and hand washing.”
Moving forward, Mills maintains that facial skin care is a key category for personal cleansing brands to develop a more holistic beauty approach by transferring facial care routines to the body. Two areas she sees benefiting include exfoliating body products and shower oils which to date have experienced limited innovation.•