UK cosmetics and toiletries industry to decline by 10% in 2020

Young woman applying mascara while looking in mirror

Cosmetics and toiletries are losing out in the COVID-19-driven decision between what is essential and what is dispensable, particularly as almost half of UK consumers plan to socialise outside of the home less frequently in future.

This will contribute to the forecasted -10% value decline in the UK cosmetics and toiletries industry in 2020, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Lia Neophytou, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “With fewer out-of-home occasions for consumers to attend, as well as the transition to working at home, cosmetics has taken a backseat. Even when consumers do venture outdoors, the wearing of masks is further diminishing the need for cosmetics. All sectors in the cosmetics and toiletries industry are expected to return to growth in 2021, though will not recuperate their pre-COVID-19 value.”

Economic and financial uncertainty will further contribute toward this, especially as 25% of UK consumers that are earning less due to COVID-19 will purchase beauty and grooming products at the lower end of the price range in future, compared with the UK average of 20%, according to GlobalData’s COVID-19 Recovery Tracker Survey.

Sectors such as fragrances and make-up that are most suited to out-of-home occasions will see greater decline than skincare and oral hygiene that are generally used irrespective of plans to socialize. These areas will also see comparatively less decline as people have a heightened awareness of personal cleanliness amid the pandemic.

Neophytou adds: “Brands operating in the skincare and personal hygiene categories are in a better position than most – though a degree of innovation is still required to mitigate the extent of sector decline and speed up recovery. Investing in marketing campaigns and re-positioning products typically used out-of-home to align with the at-home occasion would be wise.”

For example, Unilever’s Vaseline brand recently launched a new range of products that both kills germs and moisturizes skin, offering relief to those increasing their use of hand sanitisers, which may contain drying ingredients.

Similarly, Dove’s ‘Courage is Beautiful’ film recognized the daily acts of healthcare workers amid the pandemic, and it donated products and funds to help support those in need. This could encourage consumers to purchase its products, particularly if they are not in the financial position to donate outright to a charity.