Skin Care in Western Europe

May 2021

Western Europe’s skin care sales went into decline in 2020, with the region hit by Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the measures implemented to contain its spread. However, hand care recorded strong growth in 2020, as consumers looked to moisturise hands dried out by frequent washing and sanitising. Skin care will rebound with positive growth in 2021, although it will take a few more years to return to 2019 sales levels.

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Key Findings

Positive sales seen in the pre-pandemic period

Although skin care sales in France were already in decline prior to 2020 and UK sales were flatlining, the overall regional performance still saw 1% growth in real value terms in Western Europe in 2019. Germany recorded positive growth rates throughout the historic period, including 2020, with local consumers increasingly interested in learning more about skin care routines and ingredients, with beauty influencers contributing to this rising awareness, as they spread information about any innovations and the results of using these new products.

COVID-19 tips skin care into decline in 2020

Bar Germany, all the other big markets in the region were in decline in 2020. The measures implemented to try and control the spread of the COVID-19 virus, including non-essential retail closures and lockdowns, disrupted skin care sales. Mass brands did better in 2020, as they remained available to consumers through modern grocery retailers, but premium brands, more likely to be sold through beauty specialist retailers or department stores, which were closed during lockdowns, did not fare as well. In addition, mass, or masstige, brands were preferred by consumers feeling the effects of the pandemic’s economic impact.

Strong hand care performance in 2020

Hand care saw an improvement in its performance in 2020 due to the frequent hand washing and use of hand sanitisers to help prevent the spread of the virus. This resulted in a growing need to protect the hands from the side-effects of these practices, eg dried-out hands. “Soothing” was also important, with consumers looking to relieve skin problems due to the frequent use of face masks.

Positive growth in the forecast period

Growth rates will return to positive territory from 2021, although Western Europe will take until 2023 to return to pre-pandemic sales levels. Natural and organic ingredients and products are expected enjoy increasing demand.


Key findings

Regional Overview

Western Europe records the weakest regional growth in 2015-2020
Western Europe to bounce straight back with positive growth from 2021
French declines offset Germany’s additional sales in 2015-2020
France records a significant decline in actual sales in 2015-2020
German facial care a major contributor of new sales over 2015-2020
COVID-19 brings a halt to positive annual growth rates in skin care
Non-grocery specialists account for more than half of skin care sales
Strong e-commerce gains made during the pandemic

Leading Companies and Brands

Relatively concentrated skin care competitive landscapes
Natura making strong gains
Multinational nature of top 10 means a broad regional presence
Nivea maintains its leading position in Western Europe

Forecast Projections

Return to positive growth expected for skin care in the forecast period
Facial care will be the main driver of actual sales growth
Rising GDP expected to help growth drive across the region

Country Snapshots

Austria: Market Context
Austria: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Belgium: Market Context
Belgium: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Denmark: Market Context
Denmark: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Finland: Market Context
Finland: Competitive and Retail Landscape
France: Market Context
France: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Germany: Market Context
Germany: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Greece: Market Context
Greece: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Ireland: Market Context
Ireland: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Italy: Market Context
Italy: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Netherlands: Market Context
Netherlands: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Norway: Market Context
Norway: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Portugal: Market Context
Portugal: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Spain: Market Context
Spain: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Sweden: Market Context
Sweden: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Switzerland: Market Context
Switzerland: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Turkey: Market Context
Turkey: Competitive and Retail Landscape
UK: Market Context
UK: Competitive and Retail Landscape


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