Beauty retail spend up 8.5%

Consumers are spending more on beauty products, with current spend topping pre-recessionary levels, according to market analyst Mintel.

In the UK, total spend on beauty rose 8.5% to £16.8 billion in 2010, up from £15.4bn in 2009. However, attitudes to how that money is spent have changed, with consumers showing less loyalty and instead chasing discounts and special offers.

Almost ten million (40%) UK adults said they are shopping around more to compare prices on beauty products. Some 7m shoppers (14%) have bought a lot more special offers, promotions and discounts, while approximately 2.5m (5%) say they use the internet more to research prices as well as product details. Some 32% of consumers said that they had not changed their beauty shopping habits in 2010 and 26% said they are spending less - indicating that frugal habits established in 2009 remain widespread.

However, consumers are still prepared to splash out on premium brands, according to Mintel, which found that more than one in five would spend on high-end skincare (23%) and cosmetics (21%).

Hilary Monk, senior retail analyst at Mintel, said: "The recession has encouraged a cost-conscious attitude to everyday beauty lines in Britain, with consumers looking for value and offers where they can. 'However, at the same time, as consumers actively manage their budgets they have developed a 'skimp and splash' pattern of shopping behaviour whereby they look for affordable treats to supplement their economising attitudes."