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Markets & trends

France: the beauty market remained stable in 2018, according to Kantar Worldpanel

The drop in cosmetics sales in France slowed down in volume, and almost got stable in value, according to Kantar WorldPanel. The statistics unveiled by the market research firm at the Beauty Business day organized by CEW France highlight a profound change in consumers’ buying behaviour.

A simplified beauty routine

This annual event is the most eagerly awaited by beauty players. Last February 14th, CEW and Kantar WorldPanel unveiled the 2018 figures of the French beauty market in front of a packed audience. To Laurence Moulin, General Manager of CEW France, “the Beauty Business event provides a mapping of the market to make an update on the previous year and confirm objectives for the next.

“There is a decline in the beauty budget, which leads to an overall 0.8% market drop in volume, and a 0.2% drop in value,” explains Anaïs Dupuy, Business Development Manager of Kantar WorldPanel.

“There is a decline in the beauty budget, which leads to an overall 0.8% market drop in volume, and a 0.2% drop in value,” explains Anaïs Dupuy, Business Development Manager of Kantar WorldPanel.

In France, the hygiene-beauty category has been “deprioritized” for several years in household budgets. “There is a decline in the beauty budget, which leads to an overall 0.8% market drop in volume (compared to -1.3% in 2017), and a 0.2% drop in value,” explains Anaïs Dupuy, Business Development Manager of Kantar WorldPanel. Consumers buy fewer products, but these have a higher monetary value. This can be explained by a routine change, as consumers increasingly turn to organic, selective, or new products. As the population rises by 0.4% per year, mechanically, there should be at least a similar rise of the market… which means the 0.2% drop is significant!

Although every French person purchased at least one hygiene-beauty product in 2018 (penetration rate of 98.2%), buying acts declined by 0.5 point in three years, and hygiene-beauty opportunities dropped by six per week in six years (51.4 in 2013, 45.2 in 2018).

The market has turned to face skincare, the category that recruited the highest number of buyers in 2018. For the first year, the “face toiletries” category receded, although it had remained stable until then, thanks to the success of micellar waters over the past years.

The “less is more” trend, the will to turn to natural skincare, the rise of societal and environmental concerns, with the vegan and zero waste movements, the impact of icons and influencers taking a stand for the no-make-up or deo-free practices… all these factors contribute to simplifying routines.

The generation gap

In addition, the market seems to be divided into two. Consumers aged under 50 tend to purchase fewer hygiene-beauty products, while those aged 50+ buy more of them. As a result, it is important to make young consumers reengage in hygiene-beauty, because if they de-consume now and change their routines, they are likely to maintain this behaviour in the future.

The specialized channel performs well

Hygiene-beauty remains the most “multichannel” category of consumer goods: 46% of the money spent in this sector goes to specialized channels (i.e. +1.4 point, compared to 2014). “The year 2018 highlights a change in the choice of buying channels. French people buy their products using 3.3 channels (3.1 in 2014), which emphasizes the fact that consumers switch back and forth between the various distribution channels,” explains Anaïs Dupuy.

Supermarkets have been losing ground, although 60 units out of 100 are still purchased through mass distribution. However, for the first time, pharmacies have been losing ground, contrary to discount shops (Gifi, Stokomani, Action, etc.), which are continuing their progression.

Ultimately, pure players on the web keep growing on the beauty market, with 1.3 million new buyers over a year. Almost one French person out of three purchased hygiene-beauty products online with a budget of about 100 euros per year in 2018. Out of 100 euros spent in e-commerce, 17.90 concern this category, compared to 9 in the traditional channel. It certainly deserves close attention…

Despite the weakness of its internal market, the French cosmetics industry remains healthy, thanks to its high export performance. According to the French Federation of Beauty Companies (FEBEA), the year 2018 was actually marked by a new record: export sales exceeded 14.5 billion euros – a 6.3% rise, compared to 2017.

Beauty Business is aimed to become one of the three main CEW annual events, with the Journée de la Beauté and the Achiever Awards. It is organized in partnership with the industry’s leaders, who do us the honour to accept our invitation,” emphasizes Laurence Moulin, General Manager of CEW France.

Next CEW France events:

  • March 25: Joël Palix, Success story FeelUnique
    As his professional career is taking a new direction, Joël Palix will think back on the five years he spent as the head of FeelUnique, which became the first European beauty e-shop with him as a Director.
  • 12 Avril : Wellness is the new beauty
    Environmental awareness, body-positive movement, a new, more global and more holistic vision of beauty is needed.
  • June 25: Third CEW France Journée de la Beauté (Beauty Day)

Éva Lagarde

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