As the pandemic led to the periodical closure of brick and mortar stores, with prestige beauty sales declining -24% in 2020, the UK market was affected stronger than its European counterparts, including France (-20%) and Germany (-16%), or than the US (-19%).

As far as prestige skincare sales are concerned, the fall reached -23% in 2020 in the UK, according to The NPD Group latest data, and the total prestige skincare market was valued at £295 million.

According to Pinterest’s 2021 Trend Predictions Report, ‘skinimalism’, which features a pared down skincare and make-up routine which adopts a minimalist, back-to-basics approach, will be one of the biggest beauty trends this year. However, NPD’s research suggests that UK consumers appear to have embraced this attitude in their skincare buying habits as soon as last year.

Back-to-basics approach

According to The NPD Group, three skincare subsegments demonstrated the early adoption of the ‘skinimalism’ trend among UK consumers by reporting a decline in sales less than the total category: in 2020 sales of prestige face cream declined 20%, prestige face cleansers declined 17% and facial exfoliators declined 3%.

Face cream, facial cleanser and facial exfoliators are the three sub-segments where consumers have gone back to basics whilst some ‘additional steps’ such as eye treatments and masks have declined in importance in face skincare as consumers have ‘skinimised’ what products they’re using,” commented Emma Fishwick, account manager, NPD UK Beauty.

In 2018 and 2019, sales of eye treatment products have represented the third largest subsegment (in value) within prestige skincare, however, in 2020 facial cleansers reported more value sales than eye treatments, reinforcing the trend for a pared down skincare regime. Sales of anti-acne serums increased by 51% in value in 2020 as mask wearing created new needs and consumers focused on skin specific remedies to reveal their glowing skin.

As the pandemic hit, our skincare routine remained consistent when the country went into lockdown. However, consumer confidence has been hit, and people are more reluctant to spend. At the same time consumers focus on sustainability also means that Skinimalism has become very topical. Beauty buyers seem to be purchasing less products, and the products that they are opting for are more targeted. We have also seen an increase in beauty brands concentrate their messaging on the active ingredients in their products. Just some examples of brands that we have observed doing this include Estee Lauder with its latest Advanced Night Repair Serum re-launch, Origins New Multi-powered Youth Serum and in Makeup, Charlotte Tilbury’s new Lip Launch called Hyaluronic Happikiss,” added Emma Fishwick.