Beauty sales suffer as Britons spend money on holidays and experiences instead

The beauty market fell by 0.2% in 2015 as affluent Brits spent money on holidays, leisure and entertainment experiences instead, according to new research by Mintel.

Sales in the beauty and personal care market fell to £16.88 billion last year, down from £16.91 billion in 2014, the report found.

Just 17% of consumers said they would buy themselves a beauty product as a treat compared to 27% who said they were more likely to buy themselves a holiday, signalling the end of the “lipstick effect” – consumers more willing to buy less costly luxury goods in an economic crisis.

Researchers believe beauty bargain hunting is hampering the market, with one in seven Brits saying they’ve spent less on beauty products and toiletries in the past 12 months.

However, sales of face colour cosmetics rose by 8% in 2015 due to the increasing popularity of prestige brands and two in five adults are now looking for vitamin-enriched products when shopping for soap, bath and shower products – rising to 50% of 16–24-year-old women.

Ina Mitskavets, senior consumer and lifestyles analyst at Mintel, said: “Britain’s economic growth over the last few years has outstripped many other major economies, and wages have been rising above inflation. Whilst there has not been a big improvement in overall consumer confidence, better-off Britons are clearly pulling away from the rest.

“The term ‘lipstick index’ refers to people’s tendency to buy smaller ‘feel good’ treats instead of spending on larger-ticket items. However, as people’s incomes have picked up, there is less need to spend in this fashion.”

Read Mintel’s British Lifestyles: Growing Tired of Austerity report here.