Mintel: Nail Color in UK Equals Lip Color for the First Time

There’s nothing like a touch of color to beat the post-holiday blues and new research from Mintel reveals that U.K. women are finding more ways to incorporate it into their makeup routines. Indeed, Mintel’s research reveals that, for the first time in 2012, the value of the U.K. nail color cosmetics market equaled that of lip color cosmetics, with both posting a market value of £229 million respectively.

While in 2011, the nail color 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 color in the U.K. has ensured the nail market has made its way to a level ranking. What is more, the nail color 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 color cosmetics market).

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

Charlotte Libby, household and personal care analyst at Mintel, said, “The fact that the nail color cosmetics market has equaled that of the lip color 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 personalize their nail look. Nail makeup 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 U.K., 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 color 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 color cosmetics with long-lasting features (45% of total new product introductions in the color cosmetics category carried this claim to date in 2013). The claim is most prominent in face and eye makeup, with 55% of products launched in the face makeup category and 52% in the eye makeup category carrying this feature. Brightening and illuminating claims (41%) and seasonal (34%) follow.

“As well as fitting with the time pressures of modern life, color 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 color cosmetics products lie in creating products, which are quicker and easier to use to appeal to modern women,” said Libby.

Today, it appears makeup is a boost to the self-esteem of the majority of women who wear it. More than half (55%) of women claim to wear makeup 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 makeup to look more professional.

Mintel’s research also highlights that the increase in life expectancy and the rise in the U.K. 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 makeup 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 confident.

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

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