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Markets & trends

United Kingdom: A dynamic cosmetic market torn between promotions and innovations

Sales of perfumes and cosmetics in the United Kingdom rose by 5.3 % between 2013 and 2014, reaching a value of 10.397 billion euros, according to Cosmetics Europe. Third European market in this sector, the UK remains the largest market for makeup with a value of 1.689 billion euros.

The UK market is depicted as dynamic and creative. Its distribution structure is quite different from the rest of Europe. With the dominance of Boots, which holds more than 2,500 drugstores, the competition on price is fierce with a market boosted by promotions.

However, "there are always opportunities to be seized. Consumers are curious and like novelties," explains Karine Tiano, Agent for cosmetic brands in the UK. "The Anglo-Saxon culture, prompt to change, always open up an opportunity for a new brand. The retailers indeed play on novelty, on pionnering new products to bring in less famous brands."

First online buyers in Europe online

Beyond drugstores (Boots, Superdrug), there are of course the department stores, specialty stores, many concept stores and independent stores, e-shopping sites and teleshopping. Fashion retailers are also taking a growing space in the market by combining cosmetics with the outfits and stimulating impulse buying. TopShop launched its cosmetic brand in 2010, including more than 69 shades of nail polish in 2011. Today the brand has partnered with BeautyMart, which created a real beauty shop in its flagship store at Oxford Circus. Launched in 2012 BeautyMart is present in store and online with an exclusive selection of iconic brands.

(click on the picture to enlarge it)

(click on the picture to enlarge it)

"The concept stores like The GoodHood store, BlueBird, Alex Eagle, or The Conran Shop, are also getting into beauty, to offer these products which are part of our lifestyle," says Karine Tiano. "But for a brand, it is best to be among specialists and classic distribution like Space NK or Selfridges, or online with Net-a-Porter, feelunique, lookfantastic or CultBeauty". Indeed, the English are the first online buyers in Europe. This distribution channel should not be overlooked.

Another important distribution channel is teleshopping. The QVC channel, which is present in the UK for over 20 years, is the market leader.

Luxury or mass

Consumers love new products , so they are not very faithful, and the price is the first factor in the purchase decision. Kiko has managed its presence in the UK with a price level in line with the market and well-chosen locations. The masstige seems however little appeal to British consumers, as demonstrated by the failure of Sephora few years ago.

Consumers either buy in department stores or with specialists for luxury brands or from Boots or Superdrug for mass products.

Éva Lagarde

© 2015 - Brazil Beauty News -

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