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Mintel Shows Increase in Makeup Sales in the U.K., With Nails as the Star

Posted: September 13, 2012

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Although accounting for the smallest number of sales, nail makeup was the real star performer of the U.K. color cosmetics market in 2011, posting double-digit growth to reach a value of £221 million. Indeed, research shows users of nail varnish have risen from 52% of women in 2007 to an impressive 61% in 2011.

And it is not just Britain that has seen a rise in interest in nail color cosmetics. Indeed, this has been the case across Europe as a whole. In 2008, nail color cosmetics accounted for 10% of all color cosmetic launches; by 2012, this had risen to 26% of all new launches in the sector. In terms of launch activity by region, the U.K. was the most active region, accounting for 29% of all new product activity in the color cosmetics market during 2012. This was followed by Germany accounting for 22% of all activity and France, which accounted for 20% of activity.

“In terms of color, nails have stolen the limelight from eyes and lips, and have become an arena for self-expression in the form of nail art. While the prim, ladylike look of French manicured nails is unlikely to ever go out of style, recent trends have covered less subtle, even outrageous looks ranging from two-tone manicures and classic red polish to ombre and metallic shades. Nail makeup has also witnessed one of the biggest increases of all core beauty sectors in its consumer base in recent years,” noted Rudd.

Finally, exclusive research finds women do not see makeup as just something utilitarian, but relate to it at an emotional level—eight out of 10 (80%) say that wearing makeup makes them feel more confident in themselves and is the main reason for them to wear color cosmetics.

While the main motivation to buy makeup is to replace a worn-out or finished product, nearly two out of five (37%) do it out of the sheer enjoyment of shopping for makeup. With the recession taking a toll on consumer spending power, three in 10 (30%) have cut back their spending on makeup and 45% consider inexpensive alternatives to offer as good quality as expensive brands.