Nail colour cosmetics market equals lip colour for the first time in the UK in 2012

September 4, 2013


There’s nothing like a touch of colour to beat the post-holiday blues and new research from Minte lreveals that the nation’s women are finding more ways to incorporate it into their make up routine. Indeed, Mintel’s research reveals that, for the first time in 2012, the value of the UK nail colour cosmetics market equalled that of lip colour cosmetics with both posting a market value of £229 million respectively.

While in 2011, the nail colour cosmetic market value stood at £221 million, compared to £224 million for lip colour cosmetics – continued growth in both categories has boosted the sector – but an increased passion for nail colour in the UK has ensured the nail market has clawed its way to level pegging. What is more, the nail colour cosmetics sector is expected to grow by a further 1.7% in 2013, to overtake the lip segment by the end of this year to reach an estimated £233 million (vs £232 million for the lip colour cosmetics market).

This surge is also reflected in product innovation, with a record number of new nail colour products entering the market in 2012, up 400% compared to 2008. And the trend looks set to continue in 2013. While new nail colour product launches accounted for 10% out of total new launches in the colour cosmetics category in 2008, the percentage shot up to 26% in 2012. This year (January to August 2013) they accounted for 27%, leading new development in the colour cosmetics category (this compares to 26% of lip colour cosmetics and with 23% of eye colour cosmetics).

Charlotte Libby, Household and Personal Care Analyst at Mintel, said:

“The fact that the nail colour cosmetics market has equalled that of the lip colour market for the first time highlights the growing popularity of nail polish. The growth in new product development of nail polish can be linked to self-expression and the desire to keep up to date with current trends. Nail art continues to be a driving factor in sales. An explosion of new textures and effects is emerging which allows young women in particular to easily personalise their nail look. Nail make-up is also relatively purse-friendly, offering a range of affordable options and results that do not need daily application, cementing its position as a go-to sector for all consumer budgets.”

Nail polish is used by 59% of women in the UK, with usage peaking among young women, standing at 72% of 16-24-year-olds – compared to less than half (48%) of over-65s. In contrast, just 7% of women use false nails. Overall, the colour cosmetics market is estimated to reach nearly £1.5 billion in 2013, an annual growth of 2% from 2012. The outlook for the next five years is positive too, with a growth expected at a more rapid pace, to reach £1.9 billion in 2018.

In terms of trends, the most popular new product claims in 2013 are colour cosmetics with long-lasting features (45% of total new product introductions in the colour cosmetics category carried this claim to date in 2013). The claim is most prominent in face and eye make-up, with 55% of products launched in the face make-up category and 52% in the eye make-up category carrying this feature. Brightening and illuminating claims (41%) and seasonal* (34%) follow.

“As well as fitting with the time pressures of modern life, colour cosmetics with long-lasting claims appeal to value-seeking consumers as a product which requires less frequent application and will last longer. Growth opportunities for colour cosmetics products lie in creating products which are quicker and easier to use to appeal to modern women.”

Today, it appears make-up is a boost to the self-esteem of the majority of women who wear it. More than half (55%) of women claim to wear make-up as a way of improving their self-confidence, around four in ten (42%) use it to look as good as possible and some 26% wear make-up to look more professional.

Mintel’s research also highlights that the increase in life expectancy and the rise in the UK state pension age have resulted in senior consumers becoming a key demographic and a commercial opportunity. Up to 36% of 55-64 year-old women and almost two in ten (17%) of women aged over 65 say that wearing make-up makes them feel more professional. Furthermore, 69% of 55-64 year-olds and 54% of women aged over 65 agree that it makes them feel more confiden

But it seems that while some women are committed to make up, the same can not be said for their cleansing routine. Today, some 21% of women don’t always take off their make-up before going to sleep, with up to 27% of those aged 25-34 doing so.


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