Britons 'top spenders on make-up in Europe'

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The Independent Online

British women are the glamour queens of Europe, buying more lipstick, mascara and nail polish than their counterparts in France, Germany and Spain, according to research.

Annual spending on make-up in the UK has risen by 40 per cent in the past five years to more than £1bn, overtaking the formerly highest spending women, the French. On average, a British woman will spend £36 this year on cosmetics against £32 in France and £22 in Germany and Spain, according to analysts Mintel.

Researchers surveyed 25,000 men and women in the UK and 10,000 in France, Germany and Spain to uncover attitudes to looks. British women displayed a desire to look good but were less distinctive in their approach than other nations.

French women most wanted to stand out in a crowd and more readily saluted their own "very good sense of style". More Spaniards than any other nationality were concerned with their appearance and image. Germans most wanted to look good in public, with half of them agreeing with the statement: "I like others to look at me."

Michelle Strutton, senior market analyst at Mintel, concluded: "Even though British women are less interested in style and fashion, they retain a desire to look attractive and well-groomed."

The report, Fragrances and Cosmetics, forecast that - on top of cosmetics - British men and women would spend £940m on scent this year. Spending on perfume rose by 13 per cent in the past three years, but spending on aftershave by men stagnated. The Spanish, men and women, were the heaviest users of fragrance of the four nations.

Most British women (89 per cent) dabbed on perfume, lower than in France, Germany and Spain. However British women were "very keen users of make-up" and admitted to the highest use of foundation, and the second highest use of lipstick, nail varnish and blusher.

Rising affluence and an increase in the number of women in full-time work were credited with driving sales of cosmetics across Europe.

The early use of make-up by teenage girls was also a factor, said the report, citing evidence that 90 per cent of 14-year-old girls wore make-up regularly.

Mintel has forecast that sales for cosmetics and fragrance will rise by 17 per cent by the end of 2010 to £2.1bn. Make-up had become more colourful and extravagant in recent years with the demise of the paler look, the report's author suggested.

Boots was the biggest manufacturer of cosmetics with 22 per cent market share. Its Boots No7 was the leading brand. The next biggest were Avon, Rimmel, Max Factor, Clinique and L'Oreal. Sales of all the brands rose by up to 47 per cent between 2003 and 2005, apart from Body Shop - whose sales fell by a quarter. It has been taken over by L'Oreal.

Spending in style

* UK €52 (£36)

* France €46 (£32)

* Germany €32 (£22)

* Spain €32 (£22)