The Grocer’s 2017 Top Products Survey, THE definitive guide to the current state of the UK’s grocery industry

The war paint is out in the cosmetics aisles. As supermarket sales of makeup approach £1bn for the first time, L’Oréal has overtaken Max Factor as the third bestselling cosmetics brand as players jostle for space.

Average prices are up 5.2%, driving growth of almost £20m as volumes fell 2.8%. This, says L’Oréal commercial operations general manager Stijn Demeersseman, is the result of the supers taking a keener interest in fashion. “Supermarkets are approaching cosmetics in a much more fast beauty, trend-driven and inclusive way,” he says. “The winning retailers are those that are fast on new trends and offer a wide range of shade differentiation.”

L’Oréal has delivered £8.7m of the sector’s growth thanks to a steady stream of NPD. The brand launched Infallible Total Cover Concealer Palettes in March and extended its foundation ranges from 10 shades to more than 30, tailoring to specific skin tones. With a price a third higher than the market average, L’Oréal has been a key driver of inflation.

As has NPD in general. Nielsen cosmetics analyst Pierre Moron notes that NPD carries a 7% premium over existing lines on the market and now account for 21% of all SKUs stocked by the supers, pointing to Rimmel Volume Shake Mascara and L’Oréal Double Extension False Lash Superstar as key NPDs.

“Premiumisation via NPD is key to increasing average price within the category, driven by the consolidation of the big new trends from previous years: contouring, concealers, setting spray and primers,” he adds. “We can see some different approaches among retailers where they are increasing their ranges and bringing exclusives, playing on fragmentation and niche brands.”

Ocado’s tie-up with Marie Claire to deliver premium brands such as Estée Lauder and Bobbi Brown is a case in point. Shoppers order cosmetics through Ocado and Marie Claire’s joint website Fabled, and can add their orders to their food deliveries. Ocado says the concept uses Marie Claire’s expertise to give an “enhanced user experience”.

It’s not all about premiumisation, however. Rimmel Stay Matte Lip Colours (see below), for example, bring the on-trend matte look to shoppers for just £5.99. And in September Asda launched of a 156-strong collection of cosmetics under its George brand. Prices start at £2 and products include an interchangeable eyeshadow palette and brow gel, with nothing in the range costing more than £6.

The challenge for the supers lies in more effectively merchandising their ranges, says Demeersseman. “Only the retailers that have revolutionised their offering and expression are winning,” he says. “Supermarkets need to improve in-store experience significantly.”

If they don’t, the high street will gladly take back that £20m in 2018.


stay matte liquid lip colours rimmel

Stay Matte Liquid Lip Colours by Rimmel

It wasn’t just this 15-strong range’s edgier shades (sapphire, slate, black) that caught our eye. It was its launch campaign backed by Rita Ora, the storm it’s kicked up with beauty bloggers and its accessible price point of just £5.99. Those in the know say the line puts a pinch of velvet on their pouts. Rimmel says patent-pending ‘matrix technology’ allows the colours to last for 12 hours. That’s a long time in the world of fashion, especially because gloss lip colours are tipped as the new trend in 2018.

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The Grocer Top Products Survey 2017: Up!