After slow sales growth of 1.3% in 2016, European sales of facial skin care were expected to bounce back in 2017, climbing 3.6% to reach $18.4 billion, according to Euromonitor International. Eastern Europe is responsible for most of the increase, with sales up 10%, compared to a rise of 2.1% in Western Europe. Germany leads the European facial skin care market with sales of more than $3.3 billion, followed by France at $2.7 billion and the UK with $2.6 billion. In Eastern Europe, Russia dominates with sales of more than $1.4 billion.
According to Kantar Worldpanel, the majority of European women use facial skin care, though some are more dedicated than others. For example, 82.2% of Polish women use facial skin care compared to 70.7% in Italy, 71.2% in Spain and 72.4% in the UK. Penetration levels are higher among the French (82%) and Germans (77.8%). Half of Polish women use skin care before going to bed compared to around a third of French, British or Spanish women who do so; the Poles are also more likely to rehydrate their skin after washing (30.3%) suggesting that they have a more rigorous skin care routine. This discrepancy points to possible opportunities for brands to target different groups of Europeans to increase their use of facial skin care products.
Whereas Korea has been leading the way in the trend for multiple skin care products to be applied in thin layers, around 71% of European consumers only use between one and five skin care products during their daily routine, notes GlobalData in its 2016 Q4 global consumer survey. Just 8% of Europeans use five or more products.
“This shows that consumers are not expanding their beauty regime, but instead are replacing their current skin care products with others that address their needs better,” stated Ryan Choi, associate analyst, GlobalData.
The growing trend for mask treatments may be another influence; instead of adding masks to their routine, consumers may be using them in place of other treatment/moisturizing formats. Many brands are extending their ranges with mask offerings for virtually every type of beauty trend or concern, from anti-aging to clarifying to whitening. The latest innovations encourage regular usage by offering short application times with high efficacy, such as Bioré’s self-heating 1-minute mask or Philosophy’s purifying peel, which claims to work in 60 seconds. Euromonitor International has also noted that brands are using face masks to target key local concerns. In Russia, for example, brands such as Natura Siberia and Yves Rocher market clay and other botanically-derived ingredients in mask formulations.
GlobalData confirms that multifunctional, on-the-go skin care products are becoming more established among European consumers looking to simplify their beauty regimes. An example is the all-in-one facial wash created by NaturChem SL in Spain to clean and revitalize the skin. New to the UK market is US brand Glossier whose Milky Jelly Cleanser can be used on wet or dry skin and is formulated with five skin conditioners to leave skin feeling comfortable and hydrated.
Linked to the desire for multi-use products is consumers’ desire for products that offer a quick payoff and give instant visible results. In addition, the selfie culture means that younger consumers in particular will go to great lengths to look photo-ready at every opportunity. Products that address specific concerns, such as dark spots, visible pores and dull skin tone are proving popular, such as Murad 2-step Hydro-Glow Aqua Peel and Deciem’s Hylamide Finisher series of skin-perfecting formulations that offer advanced blurring, mesh, radiance, prismatic and photographic technologies.
Good v. Bad
Consumers’ perception of so-called “bad” ingredients, such as parabens and silicones, is boosting the popularity of products with a “clean” beauty label. Leading brand Boots launched the Your Good Skin in 2016, its first new brand in 15 years. It is free from parabens and uses natural ingredients such as green tea to promote healthy looking skin. The range also tackles the growing consumer demand for products that address lifestyle and life-change issues, such as the rise in pollution and stress, as well as hormonal changes.
Paula’s Choice Resist Antioxidant Serum is another example of a product that promises “visibly healthier skin” after 28 days of use.
According to GlobalData’s 2017 Q1 global consumer survey, some of the top skin care issues concerning European consumers include maintaining skin firmness and elasticity; dry, flaky and dehydrated skin; and dark circles or bags under the eyes. Despite manufacturers’ best efforts to address every possible concern, there are still gaps to be filled.
“By giving users more control over product formulations, consumers are able to benefit from tailoring products at home depending on their mood, lifestyle or beauty needs,” maintains Choi.
Insitu, for example, consists of a range of products that are created for individuals based on their environmental and lifestyle makeup. Each product is made to order and engraved with the purchaser’s name. Geneu goes further by offering customers a DNA and lifestyle test that looks at the genes responsible for skin aging to produce a personally prescribed serum containing the right concentration of actives for each individual’s skin. Naturally, these two examples are costly and therefore not viable for most consumers.
Choi believes that personalization is a trend that is likely to become more popular, though it is unlikely to go mainstream and replace current products that already exist. More realistic is the idea of mix and match products, such as Clarins’ Boosters, which are specialized serums for targeted treatment and that can be added to face creams or masks for a more customized approach.
With the expectation of stronger growth in 2018 for the European facial skin care market, there will be plenty of opportunities for brands to grow penetration and encourage greater regimen 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.