According to Euromonitor International, Western European makeup sales approached $12.8 billion last year and are forecast to grow 3.8% annually to 2021. The UK is the strongest European makeup market with 2016 sales of more than $2.8 billion, followed by Germany at nearly $2.1 billion. The biggest growth driver in the UK has been millennials, who are a key target for makeup brands, largely due to the demographic’s love of selfies and penchant for tattoos and piercing. In Germany, brow products have been a major trend with almost all brands promoting eyebrow products in various formats.
The NPD Group valued the UK premium makeup market at more than $1 billion in the 12 months to June 2017 period, more than double any of the four European markets it covers (France, Italy, Spain and the UK). The UK’s growth rate was an impressive 11%, compared to 5% for Spain, 2% Italy and no growth for France.
“This year, makeup remains the key growth driver category in prestige (channels), strongly influenced by millennials and social media activity as in past years,” commented Mathilde Lion, beauty Europe industry expert, The NPD Group.
She observes that lip color in particular has been strongly pushed on social networks and has benefited from strong innovations such as liquid matte lipsticks and audacious colors.
“We can also bet on a ‘lipstick effect,’” she continues. “In a period of uncertainty and weak economies in some countries, women can treat themselves and allow themselves to spend on one of the less expensive categories in prestige. It’s easier to buy and use a lip color from a prestige brand at $30-$35 than a bag at more than $2,000.”
GlobalData’s European research into makeup confirms this trend. According to Mayu Teeven, associate analyst, GlobalData, more than half of UK consumers claim that general appearance is importance and a further third are willing to increase the number of products they use to improve their appearance.
“These factors create an opportunity for makeup since consumers will make more indulgent and expensive purchases since they are considered an affordable luxury,” said Teeven.
The latest usage data by Kantar Worldpanel shows that three out of four Polish women wear makeup every week, the highest of any European country. Elsewhere, the average penetration is 50-60%. Polish women apply makeup more frequently than their European neighbors, averaging 17.1 times in a week. Most European women put on makeup for work or school, but Polish women are much more likely to use it as part of their look whenever they go out. Some 35% of Polish women wear makeup to give themselves confidence and to feel attractive with one in five using it to define the shape of their eyes or to create a specific look.
Capturing Youth Via NPD
Much product innovation in makeup is aimed at the younger generation of millennials and their younger sisters, Generation Z, aged 14-21. At the Packaging Innovations Beauty Forum 2017 in London, Sara Jones, partner at design agency Dew Gibbons + Partners, presented research showing that for Gen Z, digital is embedded in everything they do. These young consumers are addicted to YouTube makeup tutorials, but are not brand loyal and will readily switch if a friend recommends a product or they see something new that catches their eye, usually on Instagram or Snapchat.
“Beauty brands will need to think digital and fast or miss out with this hugely engaged demographic,” she explained.
Her recommendations to beauty brands were to use simple, large, clear icons and bold block colors that work on every device. Her examples included ASOS, Topshop, Wet n wild, 3INA and Glossier Cloud Paint.
Cushion makeup, a South Korean invention, has been adopted by many big beauty brands, including L’Oréal, Lancôme and Bobbi Brown. One notable UK launch, according to GlobalData, was Estée Lauder’s Double Wear foundation line, which now includes Cushion Stick Radiant Makeup with a built-in removable sponge tip for cleaning as well as taking excess product back into the container.
“The functional packaging differentiates the product from other cushion makeup items on the market as it addresses hygiene concerns and helps avoid waste,” observed Teeven.
Another Korean inspiration is the cute Sephora Collection Blush to Go in France, which imitates the appearance of Eastern Asian makeup packaging. This range of blush sticks combines a cream texture and powder finish and is aimed at younger women who like to share their beauty regime and brands they use on social media.
Convenience is a major factor in the development of new makeup formats, such as eyeliner and lip products. For example, Lancôme Grandiose Eye Liner, on sale across Europe, features a unique bendable, pivoted applicator that can bend up to 35 degrees to make application easier and allow consumers to modify the application method. The handle on the closure locks securely into position with an audible click, which Teeven said could be potentially added to mascara closures, again to improve the application process.
Benefit Cosmetics’ new They’re Real! combination lipstick plus liner. This 2-in-1 product features a tear drop shape that is darker at the tip to create the lipliner effect, while the lipstick is applied by swiveling the product.
Looking forward, there are strong opportunities for brands to develop products that consumers can tailor to their mood, lifestyle or makeup needs. Teveen predicts consumers will be able to blend formulas “fresh” for a bespoke makeup experience. Whether this trend will appeal to the all-important youth demographic, only time will tell.
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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.