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Personal Care & Cosmetics Products

United Kingdom
Executive Summary

The UK personal care and cosmetics products market is mature and saturated with many competing
brands. Key competitive factors for selling cosmetics in the UK include product innovation, quality, and

The market was worth $11.2 billion in 2015. Given the uncertainty of Brexit and other factors, reports
indicate that the sector will suffer a slowdown in growth until 2019, increasing at an average rate of
0.6% down from 1.2% per annum growth in prior years.

The increasing UK population, aged 65 and over, offers potential for U.S. exporters of anti-aging
cosmetics. In addition, the UK’s ethnic population is growing significantly, with an estimated 16% of the
UK population from a non-white ethnic group, the largest of these groups being Asian.

France, Germany, the U.S. and China are among the largest exporters to the UK. U.S. exporters of
cosmetics must comply with the EU Cosmetics Regulation.

Overview of the Domestic Market

Size and Growth Trends in the Domestic Industry

The overall value of the UK's cosmetics market remains broadly flat, decreasing slightly by 0.5% from
2014 to $11.2 billion in 2015 (retail sales). Shoppers have become used to searching for bargains, with
price the key factor rather than drivers such as multi-buys in supermarkets and pharmacies, which had
driven volume in the past.

Total UK Cosmetics and Personal Care Market (USD$ millions)

HTS Code Category 2014 2015 % change 2016 (est.)

3303 Perfumes and 2,010 1,951 -3.0 1,962
Toilet Waters
3304 Make-up 1,742 1,864 7.0 1,876
3304 Skin Care 2,720 2,697 -0.9 2,713
3305 Hair Care 1,985 1,952 -1.6 1,965
3306 Oral Care 782 783 0.1 788
3307 Cosmetic 1,254 1,228 -2.0 1,235
&Toilet Preps.
3401 Soaps 720 719 -0.1 724
Personal Care and Cosmetics Products – United Kingdom

Total 11,213 11, 194 -0.5 11,263

Source: Cosmetics, Perfumery and Toiletries Association
Exchange rate used: $1.23 = £1.00

Fragrances accounted for around 17% of the total market in 2015. Despite the many mid-market
products available, the fragrances market is still headed by the prestigious classic and designer
brands. The most successful product launches of 2015 were Dior Sauvage, whose ad campaign
stared Johnny Depp, and for women, Paco Rabanne Olympea was the year’s top selling new

Color cosmetics accounted for around 16% of the market share in 2015. The UK market is supplied
mainly by mass-produced brands, which represent approximately 65% of the total color cosmetics
market. Facial make-up is the largest segment of this sector accounting for around 42%. Leading mass
market brands include L’Oreal, Rimmel, Max Factor, and Boot’s Pharmacy’s Number 7. In the premium
market, leading companies include Chanel, Lancôme, Estee Lauder, and Clinique.

The market for skincare accounted for around 24% of the market in 2015. Procter & Gamble’s Olay is
the UK’s leading mass-market skincare brand, along with L’Oréal’s Garnier. Other leading brands in the
skincare market include Boots No7 and Beiersdorf’s NIVEA. In the premium market, Clinique,
Lancôme, Dior, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and Clarins are some of the leading brands.

Haircare accounted for around 17% of the market share in 2015. This segment showed a slower rate of
growth compared to 2014. However, growth was seen in hair loss and hair thickening treatments and
styling agents. This area has benefited from the ageing population and rising awareness amongst
consumers keen to combat the early signs of alopecia and male pattern balding. Proctor and Gamble
and Unilever own the leading mass market hair care brands and there is a plethora of celebrity
hairdresser brands in the market.

Oral care accounted for around 6% of the market share in 2015. There is a premiumization trend in this
segment, with consumers trading up to products such as electric toothbrushes, as they became
increasingly aware of the importance of oral hygiene and looking after their teeth. Colgate-Palmolive is
the leading brand of toothpaste in the UK and Listerine the leading brand of mouthwash.

Combined, toilet preparations and soaps accounted for around 16% of the market in 2015. PZ Cussons
is the major manufacturer of personal wash and bathroom toiletries products in the UK. Unilever is
also a major manufacturer in this area and dominates the deodorants and body sprays market.
At with oral care, segments of this sector such as soaps and deodorants are regarded as necessities so
this segment is expected to show steady growth.

Consumer Profile

Growth in market demand is being driven by an increasing population. In general, the UK population is
ageing with the proportion under age 16 declining while those over 65 are increasing. A substantial
market exists for products geared towards the ageing consumer. This segment has a desire for products
that can reverse the ravages of time and they have the necessary levels of disposable income to
purchase these usually expensive products.

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Personal Care and Cosmetics Products – United Kingdom

There is increased demand for cosmetics specifically designed for the rapidly growing number of ethnic
consumers, the largest group being Asian. It is estimated that 16% of the UK population is from a non-
white ethnic group and it is forecast that ethnic minorities will make up a third of the UK population by
2050. Demand for medium-priced ethnic color cosmetics and haircare is increasing and is a best
prospect for U.S. exporters.

The health and wellness trend has increased the demand for more clean, natural and organic perfumes
and scented personal care products, creating a strong emphasis on quality ingredients and formulations

UK consumers increasingly want more sophisticated products to offer multiple benefits such as
moisturization, UV protection, ageing treatment, long-lasting effects, ease of use, and convenience.

Distribution Channels and Marketing

Boots is the leader in personal care and beauty, accounting for 42% of the market share. Boots sells
both mass market and premium brands. Supermarkets continue their foray into the personal care and
beauty industry with Tesco and Sainsbury’s supermarkets leading with own label and mass market
brands. Premium brands are found in the UK’s department stores and through salons and spas. Leading
department stores for beauty are Debenhams and John Lewis. An overview of the number of outlets
nationally, by each bricks and morter retail distribution channel follows:

Health and Beauty Chains:

Boots (2,500 stores); Lloyds Pharmacy (1,650), Superdrug (900).

Specialist Retailers:
The Body Shop (2,500); Marks and Spencer (766); Lush Cosmetics (115); Molton Brown (75 stores and
concessions), Space NK (62).

Department Stores:
Debenhams (158); House of Fraser (61); John Lewis (29); Selfridges (4), Harrods (1).

Tesco (1,800 stores); Sainsbury (934); Asda (500), Morrisons (370)

Beauty Salons (6,892); Hair Salons (1,844); Beauty and Hair Salons (4,169), Spas (2,000).

Market Entry

Products are widely available in drugstores, department stores, supermarkets, discount stores, and
other independent shops. The UK market is mature and saturated and has many competing brands. In
order to be successful in this competitive market, any foreign companies must be willing to invest
heavily in marketing.

• Trade magazine advertisements

• Exhibiting at trade shows

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Key competitive factors are quality, price, attractive packaging, and ‘innovation’. The most common
way to enter the UK market is to establish a relationship with a local distributor or authorized
representative. Another route to consider is contacting retailers on line such as Selfridges – and Boots –

While around 90% of beauty sales are made in store, improvement of customer experience online has
helped lead to impressive growth in beauty ecommerce. Brands are becoming more and more aware
that in the absence of the “touch and feel” element of beauty sales, online customers need to be taken
on a digital journey so they feel engrossed in the brand. This may be an interactive video featuring a
makeup tutorial, where consumers can learn how products are applied, or an engaging blog post full of
top tips from beauty experts.

Representative retail prices for the following products (USD$)

Products Mass Market Premium

Low High Low High
Perfume 12.00 36.70 56.58 300.00
Lipstick 6.00 12.00 37.00 80.00
Eye Shadow 1.50 8.50 16.00 44.50
Mascara 2.50 15.00 26.00 49.50
Sunscreen 8.50 24.50 25.00 61.50
Bronzer/Blush 1.50 11.00 34.50 61.50
Skin Cream 5.00 31.00 50.00 370.00
Shampoo/Conditioner 3.50 12.00 20.00 68.00
Hair Styling Product 4.50 8.50 15.00 49.50
Deodorant 3.00 5.00 15.00 53.00
Nail Polish 3.50 12.50 17.50 49.50
Shaving Prep 3.50 5.00 12.50 25.00
Exchange rate used: $1.23 = £1.00

Retailers of personal care and cosmetics products require profit margins of around 65%. This has
narrowed the profits margins for distributors considerably and is essentially squeezing them out of the
beauty industry. Distributors usually seek margins of around 35%.

Trends in UK Imports and Competing Products


France, Germany and Italy are among the largest suppliers to the UK from the EU. From non-EU
countries the U.S. and China are the largest suppliers.

Table 1: Total Personal Care and Cosmetics Categories by Import and Largest Market - $USD Millions

HTS Category Total Total % change Largest % of $Millions

Code Imports Imports 2015 Trading market
2014 2015 versus partner
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3303 Perfumes and 866 867 0.1% France 36.8% 319

Toilet Waters
3304 Make-up/Skin 1747 1777 1.7% France 21.0% 373
3305 Hair Care 562 532 -5.3% Germany 20.7% 110
3306 Oral Care 220 213 -3.7% Poland 21.5% 46
3307 Men’s Shaving 49 49 1.3% France 19.2% 10
3307 Deodorants and 153 159 3.5% Germany 34.9% 56
3307 Bath 75 82 8.2% Italy 36.6% 30
3307 Depilatories and 69 64 -7.7% China 21.0% 13
other toiletries
3401 Toilet Soap 116 122 5.4% Germany 18.6% 23
3401 Liquid soap 167 159 -4.5% Germany 39.6% 63
Totals 4024 4024 0.0%
Source: Cosmetics, Perfumery and Toiletries Association
Exchange rate used: $1.23 = £1.00

Table 2: U.S. Exports to the UK USD$ Millions

CAGR 3 Year
HTS of
Description 2013 2014 2015 2010- Avg
Code 2015
2015 Growth

3301 Essential Oils $57,335 $57,305 $51,192 -3% -11% 3%

Fragrances & $619,251 $644,547 $672,774 4% 9% 44%
330290 Substances Used as
Perfumes And Toilet $98,928 $137,050 $138,897 14% 40% 9%
Make-Up & Skin-Care $337,346 $392,786 $412,307 10% 22% 27%
3305 Hair Care Products $91,678 $106,208 $109,499 3% 19% 7%
3306 Oral & Dental Hygiene $8,332 $13,388 $12,300 4% 48% 1%
Cosmetic & Toilet $42,538 $65,443 $64,157 5% 51% 4%
Preparations, Inc
Shaving, Bath Prep
and Deodorants
Soap & Other Products $20,935 $24,437 $25,069 2% 20% 2%
to Wash the Skin
4803 Toilet, Facial Tissue, $5,131 $7,224 $9,422 5% 84% 1%
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Towel Or Napkin Stock

And Similar Paper,
Cellulose Fiber
Wadding And Webs, In
Rolls Or Sheets
Personal Care Wipes, $11,351 $7,553 $6,797 -17% -40% 0%
Diapers, Tampons
Sanitary Towels and $1,630 $1,674 $1,617 -19% -1% 0%
Personal Care $16,180 $16,766 $20,828 11% 29% 1%
9603 Brushes: Nail, Shaving,
Tooth, etc
Toilet Sets for $2,461 $2,434 $2,972 48% 21% 0%
Personal Travel
Diapers and Fem $16,186 $19,672 $12,631 NA -22% 1%
Total Exports $1,329,282 $1,496,487 $1,540,462 6% 16% 100%
Source: Trade Policy Information System. 2016.

Perfumes and Toilet Waters, HTS 3303

This is growing segment for U.S. exports to the UK, representing 9% of the personal care and cosmetics
sector in 2015. Growth is reflected in the premium designer brands including Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren,
Hugo Boss, Tom Ford, Aramis and Tommy Hilfiger for men and DKNY, Estee Lauder and Calvin Klein for
women. In the mass market segment, celebrity brands are driving growth such as Beyonce, Paris Hilton
and Britney Spears.

Make-up and Skin Care Preparations, 3304

This segment represents 27% of the personal care and cosmetics sector in 2015. Mass market brands
dominate the sector with the top selling including Maybelline, Revlon and Max Factor and in the
premium sector Estee Lauder, Benefit and Stila. In the nail color sector, the U.S. brand OPI dominates in
nail salons. Procter & Gamble’s Olay is the leading mass market U.S. skincare brand in in the premium
market, Estée Lauder, Kiehl’s , Dr. Perricone and Skinceuticals.

Hair Care Products, 3305

This segment represents 7% of the total market for personal care and cosmetics in 2015. Procter &
Gamble maintains its leading position in hair care with a value share of 25% in 2015. Mass market brand
Pantene was its best-selling, closely followed by Head and Shoulders. In styling, celebrity hairdressing
brands continue to drive growth with John Frieda one of the top selling brands. The UK remains a niche
market for ethnic hair-care products with U.S. brands accounting for most of the limited supply. These
are principally targeted at the specific needs of Afro-Caribbean and African consumers. However, a
significant proportion of the total ethnic population in the UK is of South Asian origin – primarily India
and Pakistan. This potential target group’s needs are largely met by purchasing from mainstream
brands, or by purchasing certain Afro brands.

Cosmetic & Toilet Preparations, Inc Shaving, Bath Prep and Deodorants, 3307

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This segment represents 4% of the personal care and cosmetics sector in 2015. U.S. brand Gillette is the
market leader of razor blades and men’s shaving preparations in the UK and U.S. brand Right Guard is a
leader for both men and women’s deodorants.

In the UK market opportunities exist for premium anti-aging products, cosmetics specifically designed
for ethnic consumers and products that offer multiple benefits and are convenient to use.

Beauty Boxes are increasing in popularity and are a good way to introduce products into this very
competitive market. Companies such as Latest in -, You
Beauty Box - Look Incredible Beauty Box - are worth considering.

See the following tables in the report Annex for more information on the U.S. and competing
countries exports to U.K.:

U.K. Total Cosmetics Imports– See Appendix Table 1

U.K.’s Total Cosmetics Exports – See Appendix Table 3

HS 34: Make Up Products, U.S. Exports to U.K. – See Appendix Table 4

HS 35: Hair Care Products, U.S. Exports to U.K.— See Appendix Table 5

HS 37: Cosmetics & Toilet Preparations, inc. Shaving, Bath Prep and Deodorants, U.S. Exports to U.K.
Table 6

Top Domestic Trade Fairs


Date: February 26-27, 2017
Location: Excel, London
Show Description: Professional trade show for spa and salon products including cosmetics, skincare,
haircare, equipment and clothing.


Date: June 11, 2017
Location: Belfast Waterfront, Belfast
Show Description: Professional trade show for spa and salon products including cosmetics, skincare,
haircare, equipment and clothing.

Date: October 1-2, 2017
Location: Olympia, London
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Show Description: Professional and retail trade show for cosmetics, skincare, haircare, equipment
and clothing.


Date: October 8-9, 2017
Location: Event City, Manchester
Show Description: Professional trade show for spa and salon products including cosmetics, skincare,
haircare, equipment and clothing.

Date: October 14-16, 2017
Location: Excel, London
Show Description: Professional haircare show including products and equipment.

Regulations, Standards and Customs


The EU Cosmetics Regulation is directly applicable in the UK, including the ban on the import and sale of
cosmetics containing ingredients tested on animals:

The UK voted in June 2016 to leave the European Union. It is expected that the British government will
trigger Article 50, the process for leaving the EU, in March 2017. This will be followed by a two-year
negotiation of the terms of the UK’s departure. Once it has left, the UK will have to negotiate new trade
arrangements. In addition, it will have to implement a new regulatory and standards regime. Until
then, EU regulation and Directives apply.

Market Issues and Obstacles

Duties and Value Added Tax: Fragrances, color cosmetics, skincare and hair care are duty free. Some
toiletry items will incur duties:

3301 Essential Oils 2.0%

3306 Dental floss: 4.0%
3307 Pre-shave, shaving and aftershave preparations 6.5%
3307 Deodorants and antiperspirants 6.5%
3307 Perfumed bath salts and other bath preparations 6.5%
3401 Organic surface-active products and preparations for 4.0%
washing the skin in the form of liquid or cream

When products enter the UK, duty (if applicable) is added to the value stated on the customs
declaration + CIF. VAT of 20% is then added to that total.

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For More Information:

Sara Jones, Commercial Specialist
U.S. Commercial Service UK
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7894 0451

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