UK premium beauty market performs well, claims NPD Group research

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Beauty trends

Beauty trends

Data from premium beauty research specialist, The NPD Group, shows the UK’s prestige beauty market has performed well, despite the tough economic backdrop.

In contrast, other beauty markets in Europe struggle to achieve growth and there are signs mass beauty market products are not faring as well, it says. 

The growth pattern is reflected across premium beauty categories. The UK has seen the market for fragrance grow by 14%, make-up by 7% and skincare by 8% – all well above growth levels for the same products in continental Europe, reports The NPD Group.

Despite its luxury image, the UK offers the lowest priced premium beauty products across Europe, creating less of a barrier for consumers to move from the mass to prestige beauty markets, it says. This difference is most pronounced in fragrance, where the average selling price in the UK is €35, compared with €41 in Italy, €47 in Spain and €52 in France.

The NPD Group reports other factors contribute to the success of the UK’s premium market including: successful re-launches of top brands, increased promotional activity, the higher number of new launches compared to other markets and high levels of media investment. As a result, growth in the prestige market is substantially higher in the UK than in France, Italy or Spain, it says.

The premium market also appears to be achieving growth while the more affordable end of the beauty market loses ground, say researchers. On average, premium beauty products cost five times as much as mass or prescription market ones, yet for the half year ending June 2011, spending on the premium market grew by 10%, while the mass beauty market contracted by 1%.

Tim Eales, director of strategic insight for SymponyIRI UK confirms mass cosmetics out-performed skincare, which has suffered across the board but especially due to sales of sun care products suffering from the vagaries of the British climate.

June Jensen, manager for NPD Beauty UK, believes the secrets to the UK’s success in the premium beauty market lies with a successful retail model. “In the UK, premium beauty products tend to be sold in department stores where consultants offer consumers a personal service that makes the purchase feel special. All of this is a stark contrast to France, Italy and Spain, where the model tends to be self-service in chain stores,” she said.