UK cosmetics importers and import trends 2021

Cosmetics industry

When it comes to beauty and its umbrella of cosmetics and personal care, United Kingdom is one of the three top cosmetics markets in Western Europe, with Brits that are well-groomed and generous spenders in the self-care segment, ready to invest in their appearance and wellness.

The home of Shakespeare and The Beatles is also one of the most globalized economies, as well as the safest and easiest places to do business in the world, where Brits are accustomed to a plethora of products from all over the world. In line with such a multicultural, vast and constantly developing market, cosmetics importers in the UK are competing in providing choices to consumers and become niche suppliers of beauty products.

Market opportunities

Premium vs. mass beauty

In recent times, premium and non-essential products lost ground in favour of affordable, mass-market beauty items, as a result of heightened hygiene, reduced incomes, and home seclusion as measures to stop the spread of the virus in 2020. Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across different segments of beauty and personal care, premium brands are still targeting millennials as they are willing to invest big in their appearance and health.

Organic beauty

UK cosmetics importers know that for Brits too, beauty goes hand in hand with health, as they are more interested in their wellness and environment, thus the impressive growth in the demand for organic, natural and ethical products. The growth in this segment has been constant and significant since 2010, sales value in the present amounting to over 86 million British pounds and a wide portfolio of certified organic ingredients and products.

Multifunctional skincare

In recent years, skincare gained more and more attention as a result of a variety of product launches and the appearance of new trends on the market. Skincare is the fastest-growing segment, as the present generation has complex skincare knowledge from an early age while being aware of healthy appearance boost self-esteem and wellness in the long term. Moreover, due to busier lives, British consumers, especially Millenials, are now conscious regarding time and sustainability and are turning to minimalistic self-care routines and multifunctional cosmetics.

Sales of products that combat skin problems like acne, wrinkles, or dark spots are growing consistently, as they turned into a must once with urbanization, including skin ageing prevention that is a global trend of high concern in the UK, due to health risks of sun damage and pollution exposure. Top innovations trending right now are individually customed cosmetics and microbiome facial skincare that offers a complete solution for many skin problems.

A pinch of colour

Although the UK is the top biggest colour cosmetics market globally, along with China, Japan, and the US, 2020 showed sales value decline due to focus on skincare and natural trend, followed by the Corona outbreak impact on the cosmetics market. Products destined for out of home consumption, like make-up, and perfume are the most affected in 2020. In the year of COVID-19, the measure of wearing face masks diminished peoples` interest to wear makeup, but still, value sales of eye makeup increased by 3% as the focus was now on the eyes and brows.

Trustworthy baby care supplies

With the birthrate in decline and a trend of postponed age of having children, parents are very mindful when buying for their children. Millennial parents are willing to spend more on high-quality products, with natural ingredients, as well as certified products from brands they can trust.

Intensified dental care

The UK oral care segment amounts to US$1,486.6m in 2020. Together with sustainability where consumers demand recycling packaging and biodegradable items, the natural trend is of high interest in the oral care category too. Technology-aided toothbrushes, as well as teeth whiteners, showed a boost in sales as in these times of home seclusion, when Brits have more time to focus on their oral care hygiene.

Hair and scalp treatments

Product customization in the haircare segment remained of high interest for Brits in 2020, with consumers looking for products specific to their needs, including shampoos, conditioners, treatments, etc. There is a rising interest in scalp health and related hair issues like hair loss, thinning, dandruff, or oiliness. Hair quality is not forgotten, as women are increasingly spending on hair oils, to maintain and improve the condition of their hair.

Hair colourants show a mixed response. In light of the COVID pandemic and beauty salon closure, at-home haircare treatments increased sales value for hair colourants. At the same time, some consumers show a shift towards embracing their natural hair tone.

Competitive but fruitful market

Cosmetics are tricky as there are no single products that work for everyone, and there are many more variables to take into consideration. If before the Covid pandemic, samples and in-store consultations were the norms, today the keyword is phigital. Moreover, a positive shipping environment, discounts, reviews or customer support are among the key sales strategies in the online UK beauty market. Boosted by the anxiety of Covid-19, online sales of cosmetics and personal care is the new beauty sales channel of successful brands.

Despite financial uncertainties and Brexit, the United Kingdom cosmetics market is forecasted to a CAGR of 3.89% for 2020-2025, remaining an exciting market for cosmetics exporters and full of potential for new players to find success through innovative, customized, and affordable offerings.

Although competition is high among the top global players, Estée Lauder, L’Oréal, Oriflame, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, and others, the key to a successful entry in the beauty market in the United Kingdom is connecting to reliable local cosmetics importers and distributors which you can find on our platform.

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