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Skin Care Remains Star of Global Beauty Market

By: Carrie Lennard, Euromonitor International
Posted: August 31, 2010, from the September 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

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The credibility of anticellulite products in key Western regions has diminished following a lack of notable success stories, resulting in consumer apathy toward the category and stagnation in North America in 2009. Antiagers, on the other hand, have benefited as a whole from the publicity surrounding the success of certain products such as Boots’ Protect & Perfect and Aldi’s Co-Enzyme Q10 cream, both of which have been found to work in scientific testing (albeit only with a small, temporary effect). This helped keep antiager sales growth in the region comparatively buoyant at 6% in 2009. Anticellulite products are proving more successful in emerging regions where they are still relative novelties. In Latin America, for example, the category continued to see strong value growth of 18% in 2009, while in Eastern European markets such as the Ukraine, firming/anticellulite body care is still witnessing segmentation—resulting in a growing number of companies offering separate variants for specific areas of the body. Despite this, skepticism in key markets such as the U.S. and the U.K. is harming firming/anticellulite product sales overall.

Increased Demand for Skin Whitening

However uncomfortably the idea may sit with consumers in the West, pale skin continues to be considered the beauty ideal in Asian markets. Because of this, there has always been strong demand for skin whiteners. And, thanks to rising disposable incomes in emerging countries, consumers have more money than ever to spend on them. Whitening products are pervasive in facial care in many Asian countries. In India, for example, 84% of all facial moisturizers sold in 2009 had whitening properties. As a result of this demand for facial-whitening products, facial care in key skin-whitening markets far outperformed the 3% achieved by the global market in 2009. According to Euromonitor, Thailand recorded a 9% increase, China 11% and India 13%.

This situation is generating interest from multinational players keen to get a share of the market. As a result, an influx of new whitening product launches is being seen from facial care brands. Many of the leading beauty players, such as Procter & Gamble and L’Oréal, heavily promoted their whitening facial skin care products in 2009. The key consumer base for whitening products remains young women, particularly those in urban areas who typically earn more and are willing to pay extra for premium whitening products. With workers being hit by the recession in Asia, intensified competition in the job market means the whitening trend is very unlikely to die down, as workers associate pale skin with job success.

China Provides Huge Boost to Global Skin Care Sales

With sales of $4.5 billion in 2009, skin care dominates beauty in China, accounting for a 40% value share of overall sales, and 10% of total skin care sales globally. Sales are particularly strong in the more affluent regions of south, north and northeast China. The boom in skin care is mainly being led by facial care, while body care remains largely flat. As in other key Asian countries, skin-lightening ingredients are pervasive in facial moisturizers and antiagers, driving overall demand for such products.

Men; Baby Boomers Drive Future Skin Care Growth

Future growth in the category will continue to be driven by antiagers. The rise in the number of consumers over 50 globally is helping to push up sales, but younger women (and increasingly also men) are clearly prioritizing age prevention and not abandoning their beauty habits during the downturn. Products that can deliver specific, claimed results will do relatively well, and consumers will be more likely to trade down to lower-priced products such as Boots’ Protect & Perfect or Aldi’s Co-Enzyme Q10 if their prestigious antiager does not deliver the required results. It is becoming clear that just being a luxury brand is no longer enough to generate sales—consumers are also increasingly demanding scientifically proven results.