Sector Insight: Cosmetics - Face value

The UK cosmetics market will soon be worth £1bn a year as colourful make-up enjoys a revival.


Women in the UK are keen buyers of cosmetics, frequently refilling make-up bags in line with fashion and colour trends. Products are constantly updated, with extensive new product development as manufacturers seek fresh colours and formulations to appeal to consumers. There is surprisingly little brand loyalty in make-up, meaning differentiation through marketing is key. Combined UK sales of fragrances and cosmetics reached £1.73bn in 2004, a 21% rise since 2000.

The fortunes of the cosmetics sector are largely tied to the prosperity of women, with an increase in female employment reflected in sales.

The sector comprises a series of categories: face make-up such as foundation and blushers, eye products such as eye shadow and mascara, lip make-up and nail varnish. Of these, eye products and face make-up are the best performers, with the latter accounting for about 35% of the sector.

UK sales of colour cosmetics grew by 28% between 2000 and 2005, according to Mintel. Sales in 2004 were valued at £867m and should reach £915m by the end of this year.

A trend toward natural-looking make-up in the early-90s hindered market growth, but the recent popularity of more colourful make-up has since revitalised the sector.

In many ways the market is saturated, and future growth is therefore likely to come from the heavier use of existing cosmetics as well as a move toward more premium products.

With women aged 15 to 19 accounting for the highest sales, according to TGI, manufacturers may also be able to expand the market by selling more to 20- to 24-year-olds and those aged 44 and above, as both groups are projected to grow in the UK. Older women are mostly neglected at the moment, as the market is strongly driven by fashion trends among the young.

Own-label brands

The development of new products is a key area. Features previously found in skincare products are now being introduced to make-up, leading to products such as volumising mascara and lipsticks that moisturise.

The market has also been shaken up by well-known make-up artists introducing their own brands to compete with established names, especially at the higher end. A new segment, dubbed 'masstige', has emerged in which mass-market products and prestige make-up meet.

Colour cosmetics is a relatively fragmented market, with little brand loyalty among consumers. The leading brand, Boots No7/17, has a 17% share, followed by Rimmel on 13% and Avon on 10%. L'Oreal has three sub-brands - L'Oreal Paris, Lancome and Maybelline - which have a combined share of 12%.

Boots is in a unique position as both the leading retailer and leading manufacturer of cosmetics. The retailer has had some difficult times of late, but beauty remains a key driver of its sales.

This February it relaunched the No 7 range it first introduced in 1935 with the extensive reformulation of many products. Boots' 17 range, which is aimed at the younger adult or teenage market, sees constant launches and limited editions. It is currently undergoing a major packaging revamp, due to be rolled out this month, to modernise its look.

Helen Tarver, No7's brand development manager, says: 'Boots' strategy is to offer the widest range of colour cosmetics in the market. Be it a £1.99 lipstick or a Chanel one, we want a breadth of offerings in good surroundings.'

Rimmel is owned by Coty, a US company and one of the world's biggest beauty operators, with ranges in both the prestige and mass markets. Colour cosmetics account for about 20% of Coty's worldwide sales, following its acquisition of Unilever Cosmetics International in May this year.

Rimmel is part of the Coty Beauty division and has repositioned itself as a streetwise, cutting-edge, mass-market brand playing heavily on its London heritage. It effectively shed its old, fusty image with the signing of supermodel Kate Moss as the face of its brand in 2001.

Avon calling

Avon is the world's biggest direct sales company, with 4.9m reps across more than 100 countries. It has suffered from a perception as a downmarket brand in the UK, although it is aiming to improve its image. Avon signed actress Tamzin Outhwaite in 2003 to front its ads. She has since appeared in the brand's first major UK TV campaign since the 'ding dong, Avon calling' ads of the 60s.

The leading make-up brand in the premium sector is Estee Lauder, which owns the Prescriptives and Origins brands. It also produces designer brands under licence, such as Aveda, MAC, Bobbi Brown and Stila. Its global distribution has helped build many of these niche brands into bigger operations.

The Clinique range is less fashion-orientated, with a loyal consumer following attracted by its allergy-tested, fragrance-free positioning.

The population may be ageing, but the make-up market is dedicated to youth and seems certain to remain firmly aligned with fashion trends.

Increased value in the sector is likely to come from improvements in technology and added benefits.

Mintel predicts that colour cosmetics will continue to grow at rates similar to those of the past five years. The UK market is expected to grow by 29% between 2005 and 2010, taking it to a value of £1.18bn a year.

COLOUR COSMETIC BRANDS BY RETAIL VALUE Brand 2004 2002 02-04 pounds m pounds m % chng 1 Boots No7/17 148 131 13.0 2 Rimmel 113 97 16.5 3 Avon 86 78 10.3 4 Max Factor 82 78 5.1 5 Estee Lauder 45 39 15.4 6 L'Oreal Paris 43 39 10.3 7 Lancome 36 32 12.5 8 Maybelline 36 29 24.1 9 Clinique 35 32 9.4 10 Revlon 26 23 13.0 11 Elizabeth Arden 24 23 4.3 12 Marks & Spencer 15 15 0 13 The Body Shop 13 19 -31.6 Other/own-label 166 141 17.7 Total 867 776 11.7 Source: Mintel FRAGRANCE AND COLOUR COSMETICS RETAIL VALUE BY YEAR Brand 2005 2003 2000 02-04 pounds m pounds m pounds m % chng 1 Fragrances 900 823 750 20.0 2 Colour cosmetics 915 823 677 35.2 Total 1815 1646 1427 27.2 Source: Mintel


Sales of colour cosmetics in the UK have been characterised in recent years by the move toward premium and, perhaps more important, branded items.

The premium segment continues to forge ahead in 2005, with bigger houses such as Lauder and Clinique investing in NPD, especially in mascara and foundation - which, along with lipstick, are the cash cows of the industry.

The market has benefited from the general shift toward a more aspirational focus, a society-wide trend that now sees BMW, rather than Ford, produce the UK's most popular car. On the back of this, recent arrivals MAC and Benefit have taken the UK by storm, providing fashion-led aspirational cosmetics to younger consumers.

Colour cosmetics have become high-value, high-fashion, sexy products for the masses. So why are some of the most exciting developments coming from private labels?

Boots' updating of its No7 and 17 lines has been one source of interest, the revamp of the former generating an 18% rise in sales in the two months after launch.

The real noise, though, has been coming from the multiples. Tesco recently expanded its Barbara Daly Collection and Asda has invested heavily in a George colour cosmetics range (due to launch this month).

With a number of fashion magazines championing these budget lines, the existence of a growing band of consumers labelled Proud Realisers of Added Value (PRAVs) has been brought into focus. True, availability and convenience is part of the picture. But the acceptance that a private label is not solely the preserve of lower income groups is helping to change perceptions.


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now


Oasis #springasmile digital campaign gets people doing good deeds
Coca-Cola: 'Don't approach bloggers with a fait accompli'
Tesco CMO Matt Atkinson: 'It is so important not to stereotype mothers'
McDonald's gives Ronald a new look ahead of global 'Fun times' social media push
In pictures: BrewDog opens first craft beer shop BottleDog for 'beer aficionados'
Facebook ad revenue leaps $1bn as it invests in targeting
Malteser or Maltesers? Mars takes Hershey trademark dispute to court
Apple Q2 profits top $10bn as iPhone sales soar
Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers