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Prestige Facial Skin Care Experiences Boom in U.K.

Posted: July 18, 2013

Consumers may have cut back or economized on many everyday costs, but new research from Mintel finds that when it comes to the face, only the best will do, as sales of prestige facial skin care products increased a stunning 9% between 2011 and 2012.

Latest research from Mintel finds the market for facial skin care in the U.K. has increased an impressive 20% in the last five years alone. And valued at £1,1 billion in 2012, the market is set to reach a beautiful £1,2 billion in 2017. Within the industry, womens mass market (£615 million) is losing ground to prestige products (£449 million). Indeed, while sales of mass market products declined by 0.3% between 2011 and 2012, sales of prestige products increased 9%. Meanwhile, sales of men’s products (valued at £58 million) rose 3.6% over the same period.

Charlotte Libby, household and personal care analyst at Mintel, said, “The facial skin care market performed well in 2012, with the prestige and men’s markets displaying particular strength. Prestige products have benefited from the so called ‘lipstick effect,’ which has seen sales of luxury beauty products remain strong despite the economic downturn, as consumers treat themselves to small items. Additionally, increased and improved distribution channels will have no doubt buoyed the prestige sector.”

Highlighting the growing importance of the men’s facial skin care market, today, as many as 7% of men admit to spending a lot of time on their facial skin care routine. Indeed, facial moisturiser is used by more than four in ten (42%) men, while facial cleanser is used by almost a quarter (22%) of the U.K. nation’s males.

And it is not just moisturiser and cleanser that are filling men’s toiletry bags—as many as 23% of all men use lip balm, while 16% use facial wipes. Eye cream and gels are used by 7% of men, while almost the same number use face masks and peels (6%). Not to be left out in the cold with skin care technology, 3% of men apply BB cream while 8% use anti-aging products.

Overall, women are more skeptical about facial skin care claims than men. More than half (52%) of women don’t always believe the claims made by facial skin care products compared to 32% of men. Meanwhile, when it comes to the influence of the famous, less than one in twenty (4%) men and 3% of women buy products endorsed by celebrities.

“While many of the nation’s men are adopting a regular skin care regime, it remains that a lower proportion of men use facial skin care products than women. Additionally, 19% of men agree they only use facial skin care products when their skin visibly needs it. Men’s reactive approach to their skin care regime is the biggest challenge facing the industry. Encouraging men to adopt a more preventative approach to their skin’s needs could help drive sales in the category," Libby comments.

Finally, it’s a slippery slope for soap. Once the only option for face washing, traditional soap is losing popularity as a facial skin care product, with the proportion of female users falling from 58% in 2012 to around a third (36%) in 2013. During the same period, the proportion of women describing their skin as combination or dry has increased, suggesting soap is not a preferable product for these skin types, or that there is greater availability of alternative products.