Changing demographics means that an ageing UK population is placing more importance on the cosmetic purchases of older women. Particularly important to this group is the first of the older baby boomers who are now entering the seniors category.
This newly evolved group is injecting the seniors cosmetic cateogry with new vitality and demands that manufacturing are meeting with a rash of products that specifically cater to older skins and looks.
The growth of this category is one of the factors that drove UK retail sales of fragrances and colour cosmetics to some £1.7 billion (€2.6 billion) at current prices in 2004, a rise of 21 per cent since 2000, according to the latest report from Mintel.
The report also predicts that further growth of around 5 per cent is expected in 2005 to take the market value to just over £1.8 billion (€2.7 billion). This growth is expected to be supported by increasing consumer prosperity and growing numbers of women in employment with greater disposable incomes.
Concerning working women, Mintel highlights that this group is also another primary target, as these women needs to take care of their appearance with regular use of a wide range of make-up products.
But with time often of the essence, the report also highlights that working women need products that are quick and easy to handle on-the-go and preferably multi-functional, such as cheek and eye pencils.
With growth of 35 per cent between 200 and 2005, sales of colour cosmetics have been particularly strong, outstripping sales of make-up category to make it the largest cosmetics category.
Looking at the composition of the cosmetic cateogry, the report highlights that face make-up remains the largest colour cosmetics sector with 35 per cent of market value (€302 million) in 2004, although eye make-up is not far behind and both eye make-up and lip make-up have outperformed face make-up since 2002.
On the retail side, Boots, which only this week announced that sales of its beauty products have helped buoy an otherwise flat sales performance during the Christmas period, remains the UK's most important retailer for colour cosmetics, while names such as Marks & Spencer, The Body and leading drug and department stores also take a significant share of the market.
Looking at the companies supplying the market, it is Boots No7 and No 17 ranges that lead the way, followed by L'Oreal's Paris and Maybelline lines, together with Lancome and Coty marques.
The good news is that the report also points out that further growth is in sight, with future prospects for the cosmetics sector described as being 'good'. This is being driven by prolific new product development, including the incorporation of skincare benefits into colour cosmetics such as UV-protectors in make-up products.