Verdict Research’s latest report—European Health & Beauty Retailers 2008—finds that Britain spends more per person on health and beauty products than any other EU country. In fact, the British spend almost 50% more each year than the Spanish, for example, and 43% more than the average European. Verdict believes that the UK’s high level of spending per head can be attributed to easy access to a wide selection of health and beauty products, a strong consumer appetite for innovation and upmarket items and a shift to more premium, higher priced product. This high level of spending combines with its large population to make the UK the second biggest market for health and beauty products in Europe, behind only Germany.
However, this might not be the case for long as Spain has been the fastest growing of the major EU markets (Germany, UK, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands). Spanish category expenditure increased by almost a third between 2002–2007—more than twice the rate of any other major market. This has been driven by strong economic growth with Spanish GDP rising 44% over the period.
Additionally, the 12 new members of the EU are attracting attention because of their high growth rates and future growth potential. With stiff competition in the mature EU markets and weak consumer confidence likely to limit spending growth in the short term, there is much to be gained from geographical diversification into these smaller markets.