According to reliable data, the UK cosmetics market was worth £8,438 million in 2013 (at retail sales price), making it one of the top five largest markets in the EU. Fragrances constitute a very significant part of the overall cosmetics market and fragrances sales in the UK have been recording a steady growth in volumes for years in a row.
Against the global backdrop where perfumes are no longer considered a luxury but rather an essential commodity for all people, the future prospects of the UK fragrance industry remain promising and lucrative as the sector is expected to expand further, fuelled by the emerging trends towards consumer urbanisation, higher spending propensity and the heightened importance on personal appearance and grooming. In addition, the pace of the market expansion is forecast to be rapid due to the expected increased demand for youth-oriented, floral and exotic fragrances as well as celebrity perfumes.
Unlike in other perfume markets, in the case of the UK, the two weeks before Valentine’s Day are very crucial period for sales, accounting for nearly 3% of annual fragrance value sales and beating both the sales of Father’s Day as well as those of Mother’s Day, although sales are less concentrated compared to the sales around Christmastime.
In 2014, the UK fragrances market grew by 4% in current value terms, driven by growth in both the premium and mass segments. Noticeably, the premium segment did better than the mass segment, with a current value growth of 4% compared to 2% recorded by the mass segment. Volume sales also grew steadily at 1%, however they were down from the 2% gain that was achieved in 2013.
In the competitive landscape that makes up the UK fragrance market, the leading company is Coty UK Ltd that in 2014 had a 15% share of value sales, worth at total of £191 million. What is interesting is that Coty UK Ltd manages to retain its top market position despite the fact that it does not have one particularly top selling brand. Its success is rather the cumulative effect of its offering of both mass and premium scents in both the men’s and women’s fragrances.
Coty is a global leader on the beauty market worldwide and its portfolio includes about 50 of the most famous perfume and cosmetics brands, rendering it the number one concern in the world of branded perfumery and cosmetics. Coty’s top 5 brands are Adidas, Calvin Klein, Chloe, Davidoff and Marc Jacobs.
In the UK market, Coty’s best-selling fragrances for men are Calvin Klein’s Eternity for Men and Joop! pour Homme in the premium segment, while in the mass segment the two top positions go to Adidas and David Beckham Intimately. In women’s fragrances on the other hand, Coty’s best-sellers in the UK are Calvin Klein Euphoria and Marc Jacobs in the premium segment and Kylie Minogue’s range of fragrances in the mass segment. Regarded by both male and female consumers as a classic fragrance, the unisex category is reigned by CK One, which is the top seller in this market segment.
Although the future prospects of the UK fragrances market are promising, most analysts forecast that it will experience a slow-down, mainly because women’s perfumes, which is the largest segment, is already saturated by over-supply. This is also reflected in the lesser number of new product launches that have been recorded more recently, because persuading consumers that are already spoilt for choice to try out yet another scent is a very challenging task.
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