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The latest in body care: much more than moisture.

AS THE WEATHER warms up in Europe, more flesh gets put on display and consumers start to worry about how their bodies are going to look in skimpier, lighter clothing, not to mention a bikini or swimsuit. There's that terrible time delay between first exposure and sun-kissed limbs, and even then, a tan (real or fake) can't disguise the wobbly bits that go hidden in cooler months under tights, jumpers and skirts or trousers.

The cosmetics and toiletries industry has taken advantage of consumers' anxiety by aligning an array of tightly targeted body care products alongside the more traditional, general purpose lotions, creams and oils. The results have been impressive, with double digit growth almost across the board. In France, for example, body care sales grew 12.1% to $568 million in 2002 and in 2003 sales through hyper/supermarkets rose 10.4% to $142 million. Sales in Italy soared 10.7% to nearly $641 million. Spain's mass market body care category put on 18.7% for a total of $177 million, while the UK's body care sector grew 11.4% to nearly $495 million. Even embattled Germany turned in an impressive performance, with sales up 6.5% to $543 million.

A Year-Round Activity

Despite these impressive growth rates, the body care category remains small compared to the facial skin care market. The problem is that it is still largely seasonal in nature, with products frequently launched in tandem with sun care lines. As a way of maximizing these seasonal sales, and appealing to gym bunnies and other body-conscious women, products have become increasingly specific and many manufacturers are developing lines that offer a slimming or firming program for each part of the body.

This is particularly true for the selective end of the market. Dior, for example, has extended its Bikini line with a number of products featuring the company's Cyclocaps, nanosomes that carry fat-busting Anogelline deep into the skin's tissues, and an aromachology fragrance called Lipodiet said to work as an appetite suppressant for the fat cells. Celluli-Diet is said to provide an ultra-targeted refining action, Body Firmer is a cream emulsion which claims to fight flab without the need of a personal trainer, Aqua Control helps ease heavy, tired legs and Bikini Top is a bust-firming essence.

Givenchy, meanwhile, has developed No Complex, a four-SKU line of slimming and toning products. Bust Complex promises to firm and lift the breasts like an invisible bra, Sculpting and Firming lotion for the Stomach and Waist is said to decrease fat storage and decongest the tissues, Body Contouring and Firming cream for Buttocks and Thighs claims to reduce cellulite and tone bulges, while a softening body mist is said to enhance the toning effects of the other products.

If Givenchy promises a bra in a bottle, Lancome is offering a really good pair of tights with its Body Sculptesse. Said to be particularly good for legs, the gel contains the company's Tight-Skin technology which combines tensing agents, cooling ingredients and glycol to form a tightening micro-web over the skin for an instant tightening effect.

Estee Lauder's Body Performance line offers a number of tailored approaches to problem areas. The key ingredient is conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a technology lifted from the food industry which increase the energy demands of skin cells. The new range comprises Anti-Cellulite Visible Contouring serum, Firming Body creme, Exfoliating Body polish and a complementary deodorant spray.

A Personal Trainer for Skin

YSL Beaute took a different tack with Total Fitness, described as the first cosmetic slimming coach. The company says the product slows down the development and volume of fat cells, training the body to become and stay slim thanks to Lipo-Fitness, an ingredient containing NDGA, a lipopeptide and caffeine.

But it's not only the selective heavyweights that are active in this area. In the UK, Boots has launched Body Science, a range of eight products formulated with VitaCeramide complex. The firming products include Contour Firming gel, Sculpting Body mousse, Firming Moisture cream and Intensive Moisture lotion.

Dove, meanwhile, has been running the most eye-catching ad campaign of all the body care brands. Using real women celebrating their curves, the company relaunched its Firming lotion with an improved formula and matched it with Firming gel cream and Firming body wash, all of which contain seaweed extracts, ceramides and moisturizer.

RoC also fought the good fight against cellulite with Retinol Anticellulite Modelling, said to help women slim down by one dress size, while Henkel launched the Diadermine Body Perfect program aimed at stimulating, hydrating and contouring the skin.

Everybody Needs Body Care

Impressive as these lines undoubtedly are, they still register very low penetration rates on an annual basis. Across the Big 5, penetration averages out at just 1% each for body firming lotions and anti-cellulite/toning creams, reaching a high of 3% in Germany and a low of 0% in Italy for the former with the latter peaking at 2% in France and 1% elsewhere.

The news isn't much better when it comes to body products overall. Penetration averages out across the Big 5 at just 20%, with France and Germany outperforming the others with respective shares of 21% and 29%. Italy and Spain registered just 15% and 17% each, while the UK trailed behind on 12%.

The challenge for the industry, therefore, is to encourage consumers to incorporate body care into their daily regime, not just in summer but all year round. Hydration is the key here and most of the new body moisturizers now feature added benefits. The same goes for exfoliators, which now promise more than just cell shedding.

Lancome's Caresse, for example, features Soft Skin technology in a Moisturizing body milk for normal skin and Moisturizing body cream for dry skin--both are designed to moisturize, nourish and repair skin. The Exfoliating body gel contains two sizes of microbeads for polishing and is also said to strengthen the skin's moisture barrier.

Similarly, Dior's Bikini range features Hydra Diffusion body milk for in-depth moisturization, Nutri Diffusion with skin-identical ceramides for deep nutrition and Perfecting Scrub for gentle, effective exfoliation and skin nutrition.

Meanwhile, Carita's Force Minerale is a quartet of body-enhancing products containing 22 essential minerals derived from the rich soil of dead volcanoes. Moisturizing Mineral power body cream, Nourishing Mineral Powder cream and Satining Mineral Power oil are all said to revitalize, moisturize and firm the skin as well as regulate keratinzation and fight off free radicals.

Lait Corps Express Hydratant Vivifiant from Clarins is said to reveal the role of natural light in skin hydration for the first time in cosmetics. Lumiline, a hazelnut and bamboo complex stimulates cell activity, optimizing skin hydration in the same way as light-induced vitamin D synthesis, according to the company. It also claims a powerful hydroregulatory action thanks to an Australian plant extract which acts as a micro-pump, rapidly channelling water to the heart of the skin cells.

A Pleasant Experience

Clarins is also at the forefront of another link between body and facial skin care. It has extended its Extra-Firming range with Soin Raffermissant Corps Multi-Regenerant, a rich cream aimed at women in their 40s whose bodies are showing the signs of aging through loss of firmness and increased dryness.

Both Nivea and L'Oreal have also emphasized this link but via another route. Both have matched existing body care products with night-time treatments--Nivea with le Soin Regenerant de Nuit and L'Oreal with Perfect Slim Night. L'Oreal has also extended its Age Perfect range with Age Perfect body creme, designed to moisturize and firm mature skin while decreasing age-related pigmentation patches and preventing the formation of new ones.

Another means of stretching the appeal of body care is to tie it in with well-being and sensorial pleasure.

"The most important consumer demand of body care is pleasure," observed Daniel Maes, vice president, research and development, Estee Lauder. "The second demand is moisturization, then comes shaping."

Not only must body care products be viewed as working in the longer term, he said, but consumers also want an immediate effect on the skin and senses. If manufacturers can do this, the body care category will continue to grow.



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Title Annotation:Euro Trends
Author:Rudd, Vivienne
Publication:Household & Personal Products Industry
Date:Jun 1, 2004
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