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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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