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Mintel Shows Increase in Makeup Sales in the U.K., With Nails as the Star

Posted: September 12, 2012

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 recent research from Mintel in to color cosmetics, makeup displays just how recession-proof the sector is, with U.K. retail sales of color 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, commented, "The market turned in a dynamic performance in comparison to other beauty categories like hair care and body care. 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 favoring 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 makeup,” Rudd continued. “More than just a lipstick or a cover-up [product], makeup has become the recession’s war paint. In effect women are using makeup 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 makeup stole the limelight, posting double-digit growth (£221m in 2011 from £179m in 2010). However, face color 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.