Mintel Report Showcases Growth of Facial Skin Care in the UK

With sales of facial skin care set to reach £1 billion in the UK by 2012, research from Mintel finds the market for moisturizers, cleansers and lip care in excellent shape. Over the past five years, sales of women’s facial skin care products have grown a healthy 26%, up from £738 million in 2006 to £930 million in 2010.

Indeed, the UK women’s facial skin care market is expected to reach almost a billion (£964 million) in 2011, up 4% since 2010.There was even greater growth in the market between 2009 and 2010, when sales grew 6% and the market even absorbed the shock of the credit crunch in 2008, when it eked out growth of 1%. Furthermore, over the next five years, the market is set to grow 31% to reach £1.3 billion by 2016.

Today, moisturizers (£549 million) account for 59% of all women’s facial skin care sales. The anti-aging or antiwrinkle variety are the most popular type, accounting for close to £2 of every £5 spent on women’s moisturizers. Cleansers (£307 million) are the second biggest sector, with wipes—the country’s most popular cleansing format—generating close to a fifth (18%) of all facial skin care sales. Sales of facial skin care products are divided between mass products (61%) valued at £584 million in 2011 and prestige products (39%)—valued at £380 million—with sales of the latter having increased a spectacular 21% between 2009 and 2011.

Michelle Strutton, senior consumer analyst at Mintel, said, “Facial skin care remains a vital weapon in women's appearance improvement and maintenance armory. Only a very tiny minority of women have had surgical treatments to improve their appearance, which leaves topical treatments, cosmetics and lifestyle adjustments the main tools available to women hoping to look their best from youth through to later life.

“While mass-market skin care has the edge on prestige, higher-end products are gaining despite the gloomy economic environment. The entire category may be invigorated even further by the arrival of blemish balm creams, which have enjoyed great success in Asia for several years and are now hitting shelves in the UK. The hybrid treatment-and-color products could recruit new users to skin care, who will likely be attracted to their multi-functional positioning,” Strutton continues.

Today, just 2% of British women have had cosmetic surgery to improve their appearance, with the majority relying on facial skin care products to assist appearance. Over six in ten (61%) women aged over 65 use products to look better for their age, which underscores the notion that pride in a person’s looks is not only the realm of the young. Indeed, it is women aged 55-64 (57%) who are most likely to use skin care with an eye to dealing with wrinkles and fine lines, followed by 55% of women aged over 65. While older women are the most likely to use skin care products to deal with wrinkles and fine lines, a handful (6%) of forward-thinking women aged between 16 and 24 and three in ten (31%) aged 25 to 34 use products with wrinkles in mind.

However, there remains an element of skepticism among the nation’s women. Close to six in 10 Brits (57%) believe antiwrinkle creams are overhyped, while almost one in five (17%) agree skin care products are a waste of money and that a woman’s looks depend on her genes and lifestyle.

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