From suncare to eczema, the skincare market is worth £2bn in the UK. Hannah Flynn looks at how pharmacists can boost their share of this diverse sector
The skincare market, including suncare, was estimated to be worth £2 billion in the UK in 2009, according to market analyst Key Note. This represents a year-on-year rise of 5 per cent, and skincare makes up over a quarter of total value sales of toiletries in the UK.
It is a diverse market, but there are several distinct areas in which pharmacists can focus their efforts to ensure customers are getting the most out of their products, and boost their own sales in the process.
Eczema and dermatitis
Pharmacy’s share (excluding Boots and Superdrug) in the eczema and dermatitis market decreased in 2009, according to data analyst Nielsen. It is currently worth £13.6 million, representing a decline of 8.5 per cent, year-on-year. The total market is worth £40.9m, and has experienced a slower decline of 2.5 per cent over the past year.
Despite this, the past year has seen launches in this subcategory of the skincare market. Thornton & Ross this month announced the launch of a Derma division, which will focus on the prescription emollient sector. According to data from analyst IMS, this sector is worth £120m and is experiencing 8 per cent year-on-year growth.
Janet McClean, marketing manager of the new Derma division at Thornton & Ross, says this sector is stable as it treats a chronic condition.
Ms McClean explains: “I think the market is going to grow as eczema affects one in five children and one in five adults. The population is increasing and things like allergens and other environmental triggers can affect it.”
Rates of eczema have increased over the past 10 years, adds Pasante Healthcare managing director Lawrence Boon, which distributes sensitive skincare product range Sebamed. He says there was a 42 per cent rise in the number of eczema cases diagnosed between 2001 and 2005, and also cites a 40 per cent rise in sales of the Sebamed range over the past year.
Mr Boon says: “Customer understanding of science has increased and they are asking for more from their products and want to know what it contains besides vanilla essence.”
Acne and medicated skincare
The medicated skin care subcategory is worth £76m, according to market analyst SymphonyIRI Group, which represents an 10 per cent decline year-on-year. However, acne is a condition that was highlighted in the PAGB’s annual report as a minor ailment that could be treated with OTC medication. Though there is an overall downward trend in this area, the medicated skin treatment format – which represents almost a fifth of the subcategory – has grown by 9 per cent over the past year, according to IRI. Cleansers, which make up a further fifth of the subcategory, are also showing growth – of 4 per cent.
Anti-ageing and cosmetic skincare
Growth in the skincare market continues to be driven by premium-priced anti-ageing formulations, according to a Key Note report.
One notable event in the area this year was the repackaging of Astral, a heritage product that is currently the focus of a £500,000 campaign citing the benefits the product offers to ageing skin. This followed clinical research into the effects the cream has on skin on women over 50.
Camouflage products are also becoming increasingly popular. Lloydspharmacy offers a Dermablend service at its London Selfridges store (see case study, below) and Varama Covercream is currently going through approvals to be made available on prescription, according to Vanessa Jane Davies, the creator of the product. She says GPs generally direct patients to occupational therapists, who offer skin camouflage services in hospital, but thinks making the product available on prescription as well will help customers considerably.
Four tips to boost your skincare sales
1 “Take just one line which includes face and body products and sell it as a whole system so the products become a skincare system rather than individual products.”
Lawrence Boone, managing director, Pasante Healthcare
2 “People with chronic conditions react differently to different products and should be offered help to find what works for them. We offer 30g samples so patients can try our products first; pharmacists should suggest this to patients.”
Janet McClean, marketing manager, Derma division, Thornton & Ross
3 “Pharmacists need to ask patients about previous treatments to help identify where treatment went wrong and where it can be improved.”
Aini Alcock, lead clinical pharmacist, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust
4 “Skincare is very experimental and pharmacists need to help keep their patient’s spirits up while they try to find the products that work for them.”
Ann Hart, pharmacist, Lloydspharmacy, Selfridges
Market changes 2009-10 Medicated skincare
Total market value
£76,127,600 – down 10.3%
£3,738,737 – down 24.4%
£71,407,080 – down 9.1%
Dry skin treatment
Total market value
£73,710,304 – up 1.9%
£48,883,536 – down 0.8%
£23,499,328 – up 8.7%
*includes Boots and Superdrug
**excludes Boots and Superdrug
Source: SymphonyIRI Group,
52 weeks to August 7, 2010
The medicated skincare market – how the formats compare
Wash 27 per cent (down 12 per cent)
Toner/2-in-1 1 per cent (down 39 per cent)
Moisturiser 4 per cent (down 16 per cent)
Soap 0 per cent (down 29 per cent)
Body products 0 per cent (down 54 per cent)
Treatment 19 per cent (up 9 per cent)
Strips 4 per cent (down 28 per cent)
Wipes 9 per cent (down 29 per cent)
Pads 4 per cent (down 32 per cent)
Cleanser 18 per cent (up 4 per cent)
Other 14 per cent (down 17 per cent)
Source: SymphonyIRI Group, to June 12, 2010
Tips for your CPD entry on skincare
Reflect Are my patients getting the most out of skincare products?
Plan Review my and my staff’s knowledge and sales protocols.
Act Read this article, revise common skin conditions such as eczema and acne, review available products and arrange training as necessary.
Evaluate Do my patients get better advice on managing skin conditions?