Beauty treatments go a lot further than skin deep. A change in appearance allows people to express themselves and can boost their self-worth. This power has been harnessed by companies and individuals alike, fueling the UK’s £27 billion beauty industry as we know it today.
The greatest worldwide growth in a beauty market has been seen in China, where the beauty industry grew by $21 billion from 2014 to 2019 – over double the next largest growth, which was in Brazil.
The amount spent at hairdressers and personal care salons in the UK was highest in 2018, reaching £7.6 billion.
This is equivalent to every person in the UK spending £113 on personal care treatments yearly.
The cosmetic market
The cosmetic market in the UK is enormous. In a 2018 report, it was named the third-largest market operating in the UK. Globally, the UK has the seventh-largest cosmetics market, with the US and China taking the top two spots.
In 2018, the leading beauty manufacturer was French cosmetic company L’Oréal with $31 billion in revenue. Producing beauty products and personal care items, Unilever is the second-largest beauty manufacturer, with $25 billion in revenue. At $14 billion in revenue in 2018, prestige cosmetics company Estée Lauder is the third-largest cosmetics manufacturer. American-based Procter and Gamble came in just $2 billion shy of the same revenue as Estée Lauder. The remaining companies each amounted to less than $10 billion in 2018.
Two-fifths of the cosmetic market is comprised of skincare. With £920 million made in sales in 2018, non-medicated face care products (like moisturisers and exfoliators) were the best selling skincare cosmetic. Haircare and makeup are the next biggest contributors to the market, making up a fifth each.
MAC Cosmetics either has the most or the second most followers on each platform, making it the strongest brand in terms of followers. Other than MAC, NYX, Benefit and Tarte are the only brands which appear on more than one of the top 10 lists, while the remaining brands each only appear on one of the lists.
*Disclaimer: Instagram and Facebook numbers are based off 2019 data. Twitter numbers are from 2018.
As of July 2019, the number of YouTube users was over 1.9 billion monthly – a quarter of the world’s population at that time! In 2018, the number of beauty-related content views reached 169 million – equivalent to the UK’s entire population watching a beauty video two and a half times each.
How much do we spend on beauty treatments?
Weekly spending by age
In the UK, the age group that spent the most on hairdressing and beauty treatments in 2018 was 50-64-year-olds. Each week, people in this age group spent an average £5 on treatments, amounting to £260 a year. Compared to the next biggest spenders, the 65-74-year-old group, the 50-64-year-olds spent £73 more yearly. The under-30s group were the most frugal with their beauty treatments, spending less than £3 on average per week.
Average weekly hosuehold expenditure on beauty treatments
Less than 30
30 to 49
50 to 64
65 to 74
75 and over
Weekly spending by household income
Unsurprisingly, more money is spent weekly on beauty treatments by people in higher gross income decile brackets. The top 10% of people are spending almost eight times the amount on beauty treatments per week than the lowest 10%. This means that they spend an average of £390 more per year on beauty treatments.
Georgia-Rose is a publisher at Finder.com and specialises in all things shopping and travel. She has years of experience working in retail and tourism and as an avid budget traveller, she loves helping people find the best deals on everything from plane tickets to sunglasses.
When she's not jetting off somewhere new you'll find her watching cake videos or befriending stray cats.
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