According to Euromonitor Inter-national, sales of bath and shower products in Europe have been static and are expected to remain so for the foreseeable future. Valued at nearly $7.5 billion in 2017, the Western European market is dominated by body wash/shower gel products, accounting for nearly half of total sales. Bath additives and liquid soap take a further third, with the remainder being solid bar soap, intimate hygiene and talcum powder. In Western Europe, Germany is the largest market with 2017 sales of nearly $1.5 billion, followed by the UK, at about $1.25 billion, Italy, $1.2 billion and France, $1.1 billion. Eastern Europe is a considerably smaller market at $2.2 billion, led by Russia, which had sales of $883 million.
Functionality will always be a high priority for consumers when choosing products to use in the bath and shower. However, European consumers also look for attributes such as intensive moisturization, skin-sensitive formulas and long-lasting scent.
According to Mintel, Spanish consumers are highly likely to seek out intensive moisture as a claim in bath and shower products (cited by 67%). Italian consumers tend to look out for several attributes, such as sensitive skin claims (55%), products that release a scent throughout the day (45%), deodorizing capabilities (37%) and a formulation that can help improve skin tone (33%). When targeting Europeans by country, brands could do well to understand differing needs by focusing on the therapeutic benefits of formulations. One such example is Nivea’s Sunshine Love Shower Gel which incorporates the evocative and uplifting scent of sun cream.
What Is Quality?
In its 2018 Q3 global consumer survey, GlobalData asked European consumers what high quality means to them in personal care. A natural/chemical-free formulation was the top response, cited by 38% of consumers, followed by environmentally friendly/sustainable claims (33%). Jamie Mills, analyst, GlobalData, explains that the shift toward more sophisticated natural formulations is a trend that is taking inspiration from the clean beauty movement, typically seen within the skin care space.
“Bath and shower products featuring health food ingredients as well as unique processing methods to retain the efficacy of natural ingredients are one such way brands are tapping into this trend,” affirmed Mills.
Focus on Sustainability
An example is Nature Box Shower Gel, launched in Poland, featuring 100% cold pressed oils including avocado oil, coconut oil and almond oil for deep moisturization. The brand claims that cold pressing ensures the nutrients in the oils are retained.
In 2018, there was more buzz around solid formats, a trend heightened by the focus on the damage caused by plastic waste on the environment and marine life. Whereas green credentials used to be associated with lower quality formulations and packaging, the opposite tends now to be true.
“One third of Europeans associate being environmentally-friendly/sustainable with high quality and this could contribute to the growing interest in bar soaps,” stated Mills. “Not only can these products save on usage of packaging, for example by removing the need for plastic containers and bottles, they also benefit from the perception of being simpler in formulation and in turn more natural.”
Lush has long championed these values with its unwrapped bath bombs. A recent UK Lush launch is Honey I Washed the Kids honeycomb-shaped soap, which is both unpackaged and contains English honey and wild orange oils in the formula.
Mintel has put the environment center stage in its 2019 beauty predictions under the theme Sub-Zero Waste, which explores how consumers are demanding action from brands and making changes to their lifestyles to be more sustainable.
“Solid soap certainly offers a reduced waste alternative,” noted Roshida Khanom, associate director, beauty and personal care, Mintel.
As the plastics debate gathers momentum and consumers become more aware of the consequences of what happens to packaging once they are finished with it, Khanom predicts they will become attracted to brands and companies that take responsibility for their waste, but also those facilitating waste reduction processes. “Implementing a returns scheme and exploring refurbished cosmetics in returned packaging can ensure goals,” advised Khanom.
Innovation in the Shower
Personal cleansing brands are focusing their attention on performance products in the shower, with the following recent launches:
- French luxury shower brand Skinjay offers an innovative alternative to shower products packaged in bottles and tubes with its diffuser system for the shower.
- L’Occitane launched the Verbena Icy Shower Gel, which is applied on dry skin before being showered off for an icy effect.
- SweatWELLth Power Shower Post Workout Cleansing Spray is a shower in a spray that does not need water.
Although showering is the preferred method of personal cleansing among Europeans, the ritual of bathing as a means of destressing and unwinding remains appealing to many. These include bath oils to help promote sleep, such as Neom Scent to Sleep Bath & Shower drops and This Works Deep Sleep Bath Soak. An alternative approach is offered by Prismologie, which uses color therapy and gemstones to help consumers relax.
Headington, Oxford UK
Tel: +44 1865 764918
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.