With 93% of UK women using colour cosmetics, total sales grew to £1.5 billion in 2013, an impressive 6% increase on 2012 sales which reached £1.4 billion. According to Mintel [1], Sales of mass-market colour cosmetics in the United Kingdom are set to hit £1 billion in 2014, with prestige sales additionally predicted to reach £552 million.

Growth of prestige makeup to slow down

Notably, it is prestige sales which have seen the biggest growth, holding a 35% share of the market in 2013 (£531 million), up from 34% in 2012 (£491 million), highlights Mintel. Mass market’s share on the other hand has fallen from 66% in 2012 (£939 million) to 65% in 2013 (£986 million). “However, as savvy shopping behaviours continue in the beauty market - and innovation is matched by mass-market brands - the prestige share of the market is unlikely to see continued increases by the end of 2014,” says Charlotte Libby, Senior Beauty Analyst at Mintel. “Prestige brands can encourage consumers to trade up with smaller size products, offering a more purse-friendly method of trialling products. Mass brands can also focus marketing communications on their product formulations, dissuading consumers that more expensive products are the only choice for advanced formulations.

Eyebrow products boost prestige makeup sales

Within the prestige sector, it is eyebrow definers that top the colour cosmetic choice with one in five (22%) users choosing a prestige branded product over a mass-market or budget brand. Sales of eyebrow products reached £28 million in 2013, an impressive 42% increase on 2012 sales which were valued at £20 million. With a quarter (25%) of UK women now using eyebrow definer, this growth looks set to continue with sales predicted to reach £31 million in 2014.

Further to this, Mintel’s analysis shows that brand loyalty amongst prestige colour cosmetic users is strong, in particular for foundations and base products.

Nail polish keeps growing

Despite its low penetration in the prestige sector, as the creativity of nail polish has become increasingly fashionable and accessible, the nail colour cosmetic segment continues to grow from strength to strength. Sales of nail polish surpassed lip colour for the first time in 2013 with the former reaching sales of £244 million and the latter £242 million. Whilst this marked a 6.6% increase for nail polish sales, they are predicted to reach £284 million by 2014, with the lip sector expected to grow to just £244 million in 2014.

Seven in ten (69%) British women now use nail polish, compared to just six in 10 (59%) women in 2013. Today, usage peaks at 16-24 year olds with four in five (81%) of this age group using nail colour. Rather than having a firm favourite, almost half (48%) of nail polish users wear four or more shades, with purple being worn by half (48%) of nail polish users, closely followed by baby pink (45%) and dark red (42%).

Natural look

In the rest of the colour cosmetic segment however, the palette is becoming muted with a third (33%) of UK women who use eye, lip or nail colour cosmetics saying they only use natural-look products, with this attitude having no age bias (32% of 16-24-year-olds and 33% of 55-64-year-olds).

In 2013 fashion began to move towards a more natural look with ‘no-make-up-make-up’ becoming a popular trend. This has continued into 2014 with the #NoMakeupSelfie nominations on Facebook and products to enhance natural skin instead of covering it,” Charlotte Libby concludes.