“With sales of facial skincare set to reach a beautiful £1 billion by 2012, latest research from Mintel finds the market for moisturisers, cleansers and lip care in dazzling shape. Over the past five years, sales of women’s facial skincare products have grown a healthy 26% – up from £738 million in 2006 to £930 million in 2010.

Indeed, the UK women’s facial skincare market is in spectacular health and is expected to reach almost a billion (£964 million) in 2011 – up 4% since 2010. There was even greater growth in the market between 2009 and 2010, when sales grew 6% and the market even absorbed the shock of the credit crunch in 2008, when it eked out growth of 1%. Furthermore, over the next five years, the market is set to grow an impressive 31% to reach £1.3 billion by 2016.

Today, moisturisers (£549 million) account for 59% of all women’s facial skincare sales. The anti-ageing or anti-wrinkle variety are the most popular type, accounting for close to £2 in every £5 spent on women’s moisturisers. Cleansers (£307 million) are the second biggest sector, with wipes – the country’s most popular cleansing format – generating close to a fifth (18%) of all facial skincare sales. Sales of facial skincare products are divided between Mass products (61%) valued at £584 million in 2011 and Prestige products (39%) – valued at £380 million – sales of the latter having increased a spectacular 21% between 2009 and 2011.

Michelle Strutton, Senior Consumer Analyst at Mintel, said:

“Facial skincare remains a vital weapon in women’s appearance improvement and maintenance armoury. Only a very tiny minority of women have had surgical treatments to improve their appearance, which leaves topical treatments, cosmetics and lifestyle adjustments the main tools available to women hoping to look their best from youth through to later life. “

“While mass-market skincare has the edge on prestige, higher-end products are gaining despite the gloomy economic environment. The entire category may be invigorated even further by the arrival of BB Creams (Blemish Balm Creams) which have enjoyed great success in Asia for several years and are now hitting shelves in the UK. The hybrid treatment-and-colour products could recruit new users to skincare, who will likely be attracted to their multi-functional positioning. “”Michelle continues.

Today, just 2% of British women have had cosmetic surgery to improve their appearance, with the majority relying on facial skincare products to assist appearance. Over six in ten (61%) women aged over 65 use products to look better for their age, which underscores the notion that pride in a person’s looks is not only the realm of the young. Indeed, it is women aged 55-64 (57%) who are most likely to use skincare with an eye to dealing with wrinkles and fine lines, followed by 55% of women aged over 65. While older women are the most likely to use skincare products to deal with wrinkles and fine lines, a handful (6%) of forward thinking women aged between 16 and 24 and three in ten (31%) aged 25 to 34 use products with wrinkles in mind.

However, there remains an element of scepticism among the nation’s women. Close to six in 10 Brits (57%) believe anti-wrinkle creams are over-hyped, while almost one in five (17%) agree skincare products are a waste of money and that a woman’s looks depend on her genes and lifestyle.

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