Mass-market beauty products are losing out to prestige brands

Sales of prestige facial skincare products increased by 9% between 2011 and 2012, according to the latest research by analyst group Mintel. At the same time, the women’s mass-market beauty sector has shrunk by 0.3% as more clients choose to invest in luxury brands.

The research valued the beauty retail market at £1.1billion in 2012, up 20% from five years previously, and estimates it will grow around 10% in the next four years, to £1.2b in 2017.

Charlotte Libby, personal care analyst at Mintel, said, “The facial skincare 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 sales of luxury beauty items remain strong despite the economic downturn.”

She added that increased and improved distribution channels is likely to have buoyed the sector.

Sales of men’s beauty products was also up, having grown 3.6% between 2011 and 2012. Mintel estimates that some 42% of men are using facial moisturiser and almost a quarter (22%) are using cleanser, with one in five agreeing that they use skincare products when their skin visibly needs it. Increasing numbers of male consumers are purchasing more specialist facial care products – 7% of men are now using eye creams or gels and 8% are using anti-ageing skincare. 

“While many men are adopting a regular skincare regime, it remains a lower proportion of men that use facial skincare products than women. Men’s reactive approach to skincare is the biggest challenge facing the industry,” said Libby. “Encouraging men to adopt a more preventative approach could help drive sales in this sector.’

Famous faces

Interestingly, the research finds that only 4% of male consumers and 3% of female consumers are likely to buy a beauty product that’s been endorsed by a celebrity. In exclusive research of our Insider survey Professional Beauty found that 53% of beauty business owners and managers believe their clients are more likely to buy a product if a celebrity has endorsed it. 

Early signs from St Tropez’s latest campaign, which features supermodel Kate Moss, indicate a positive market response and the brand has predicted a 14% rise in profits for this financial year thanks to this campaign.