Headington, Oxford UK
Tel: + 44 1865 764918
Imogen Matthews is a respected
consultant, journalist and re-
searcher focusing on trends in the beauty indus-
try. She regularly contributes to many of the world’s
foremost beauty trade titles. Every year in April,
she publishes The Premium Market Report, focus-
ing on trends in the UK premium beauty markets.
A BAD CASE OF THE BATHING BLUES
AS PERSONAL CLEANSER SALES DIP
OF ALL THE beauty categories, per- sonal cleansers are probably the most functional, but Europeans
also count on them to take a timeout during the day and recharge their batteries.
However, recent declines in sales of soap,
bath and shower products point to consumers looking to save money and adopt more
economical routines, such as taking fewer
European sales of bath and shower
products slipped 7.1% to $5.7 billion last
year, according to Canadean, with most
markets considered to be depressed. The
biggest drop came from Russia, down
a third, while Italy, France and Spain
were expected to post declines of 7-8%.
The UK was the lone bright spot, with a
slight (0.8%) uptick in sales, according to
Canadean. The picture wasn’t much better for the European soap market, where
sales were expected to drop 8.5% to $3.3
billion, with a similar decline expected for
Russian bath and shower products. Once
again, the UK held firm with a sales increase of 3.4% expected in 2015.
Europeans tend to take a shower, using shower gel or soap, first thing in the
morning, according to Kantar Worldpanel.
The trend is most marked amongst French
consumers, of whom 59% shower early in
the day, compared to 30% who do so in
the evening. Russian and Polish consumers have more nocturnal showering habits,
with only 37% and 35% showering in the
morning, compared to 46% and 45% who
do so between 6-11pm. Taking a bath is
a more relaxed affair that Europeans are
more likely to do at the end of the day.
The exception is French consumers who
are more likely to take baths in the morning (50%), compared to just 14% of Poles.
These differences highlight potential opportunities for personal cleansing brands
to target consumers with appropriate
products aimed at maximizing their enjoyment of showering and bathing.
Travel in the Tub?
Travel has opened up consumers’ minds
to unusual and exotic experiences that
they are now able to replicate in their own
bathrooms through the use of spa-in-
spired bath and shower products. Recent
spa-inspired launches include The Body
Shop Fuji Green Tea bath and body care
range whose bath tea is sourced from
the Mount Fuji region of Japan, which
comes in a tea caddy and is designed to
be used with a bath infuser, similar in
design to those used for loose tea leaves.
Rituals home and body products are
based on Eastern traditions with a sub-
brand collection that reflects these, such
as creating one’s own private hammam,
or immersing oneself in the Ayurvedic
philosophy. A new addition to the Rituals
family is Oriental Dream Creamy Cacao
& Almond Milk shower foam, described
as capturing“the lifestyle of the ancient
Bedouin and discover a warming cere-
mony of indigenous ingredients from the
mystic Orient.” The product highlights
experiential qualities that are reminiscent
of the atmosphere that could be achieved
at a spa.
Bath and shower products such as
these come far more cheaply than going
to a spa or salon for a professional treatment. According to Canadean’s research,
European consumers consider that the
top benefit of home beauty and grooming treatments compared with going to a
salon is that they are cheaper, while convenience is a high priority as well.
With European economies
faltering, personal cleanser
sales go down the drain.