“While consumers have no control over what happens with national economics, they can control their personal appearance and it seems that today, this is exactly what they are doing. Indeed, according to latest research from Mintel in to colour cosmetics, make-up displays just how recession-proof the sector is, with UK retail sales of colour cosmetics putting on a good performance in 2011, with market value up by over 8% from 2010 (when the market was valued at £1.28 billion) shoring up sales of a stunning £1.38 billion.

Growth is expected to continue – albeit at a slower pace – into 2012 and beyond, to achieve an estimated market worth £1.44 billion in 2012.

Vivenne Rudd, Head of Beauty and Personal Care Insight at Mintel, said:

“The market turned in a dynamic performance in comparison to other beauty categories like haircare and bodycare. Furthermore, continued active new product development, an expanding consumer base and fashion trends were additional supporting factors behind the value growth. Prestige brands outperformed mass market brands, with many women favouring premium-positioned products at the expense of the mid-priced segment”.

“Confidence is becoming something of a luxury in the current economic climate yet, eight out of ten British women feel more confident when wearing make-up. More than just a lipstick or a cover-up, make-up has become the recession’s war paint. In effect women are using make-up to put on a brave face. Sales in the market have continued to grow and will continue to do so for as long as the market delivers the feel-good factor even if the economy cannot.”

While all core sectors (face, eyes, lips and nails) managed growth, nail make-up stole the limelight, posting double-digit growth (£221m in 2011 from £179m in 2010). However, face colour cosmetics remains the largest of the four, accounting for 38% of total market value at £526 million. The remainder of the sales are made up of””eyes””valued at £410 million (accounting for 30% of total sales),”lips”valued at £224 million (accounting for 16% of sector sales) and””nails””worth £221 million – accounting for 15% of the market.

Although accounting for the smallest number of sales, nail make-up was the real star performer of the UK colour cosmetics market in 2011, posting double-digit growth to reach a value of £221 million. Indeed, research shows users of nail varnish have risen from 52% of women in 2007 to an impressive 61% in 2011.

And it is not just Britain which has seen a rise in interest in nail colour cosmetics. Indeed, this has been the case across Europe as a whole. In 2008, nail colour cosmetics accounted for 10% of all colour cosmetic launches, by 2012, this had risen to 26% of all new launches in the sector. In terms of launch activity by region, the UK was the most active region, accounting for 29% of all new product activity in the colour cosmetics market during 2012, this was followed by Germany accounting for 22% of all activity and France which accounted for 20% of activity. Over the past 5 years NPD activity has slowed in the UK and France, but it has dramatically increased in the UK.

“In terms of colour, nails have stolen the limelight from eyes and lips, and have become an arena for self-expression in the form of nail art. While the prim, ladylike look of French manicured nails is unlikely to ever go out of style, recent trends have covered less subtle, even outrageous looks ranging from two-tone manicures and classic red polish to ombre and metallic shades. Nail make-up has also witnessed one of the biggest increases of all core beauty sectors in its consumer base in recent years.”comments Vivienne.

Finally, exclusive research finds women do not see make-up as just something utilitarian, but relate to it at an emotional level – eight out of ten (80%) say that wearing make-up makes them feel more confident in themselves and is the main reason for them to wear colour cosmetics.

While the main motivation to buy make-up is to replace a worn-out or finished product, nearly two out of five (37%) do it out of the sheer enjoyment of shopping for make-up. With the recession taking a toll on consumer spending power, three in ten (30%) have cut back their spending on make-up and 45% consider inexpensive alternatives to offer as good quality as expensive brands.”

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