Britain’s beauty market set to hit £2 bn this year: makeup on the up

By Lucy Whitehouse contact

- Last updated on GMT

Britain’s beauty market set to hit £2 bn this year: makeup on the up
New research reveals that sales of colour cosmetics in the UK are set to reach £2 bn this year, up 7.2% from £1.8bn in 2016.

Market research provider Mintel has compiled the latest figures, which indicate that the market is likely to continue strengthening, set to grow by 36% by 2021 and reach £2.5 bn.

Today, as many as 83% of UK women wear make-up,​” the firm states. It notes that the most purchased products within the last 12 months were classic make-up bag staples: mascara (57%), lipstick (49%) and liquid/cream foundation (46%).

Roshida Khanom, Associate Director, Beauty & Personal Care at Mintel, said: “The colour cosmetics category continues to show strong year-on-year growth, particularly driven by the fashion for the ‘no make-up make-up’ look, which requires more products, time and skill than the name might suggest.”

Less is more

Khanom notes that the trend for more natural looks is a key driver, ironically, of makeup sales in the UK at present.

“Celebrities such as Little Mix’s Jesy and Holly Willoughby have recently been seen to showcase their natural beauty by appearing make-up free on social media, which is contributing to women drifting apart from full faces of make-up in favour of more subtle, natural looks aimed at enhancing rather than transforming,” she notes.

“Indeed, it seems that UK women are keen to embrace the ‘English rose’ look. Just 12% say they experiment with different looks, while a scarce 7% of UK women say they wear make-up to create a bold or dramatic look. Conversely, over a third (35%) say they use make-up to subtly enhance their natural features.”

Look alive

When women are turning to heavier makeup application, its in a bid to reduce the visible effects of tiredness on their skin, according to the Mintel research.

Khanom confirms: “Tiredness is the leading motivator. As many as 41% of women say they wear make-up to look less tired, followed by 39% who use it to cover blemishes and 25% who use make-up to look more youthful​.”

Over three in five (64%) women who wear make-up say it makes them feel confident, according to Mintel, and 43% say it makes them feel attractive, compared to just 16% who feel more professional and 15% who feel empowered by wearing make-up.

Along with this, the influence of selfie-culture is clearly seen among younger consumers: almost a quarter (22%) of women aged 16-24 wear make-up to create a camera-ready look, up from an average of 7%.

“Colour cosmetics remains a transformative sector, both with regards to appearance as well as emotional wellbeing. With confidence rating higher than attractiveness as an emotional impact of wearing make-up, brands should use it as a tool for revealing inner beauty and focus more on strength and empowerment​,” says Khanom.

“Whilst the selfie trend continues to heighten the awareness of one’s own reflection, most women are favouring natural make-up looks to enhance their features rather than create dramatic looks.”

Currently, over two in three (69%) women say that make-up trends are time consuming, while 72% say the end result can look unnatural.

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