How does it compare?
As the “birthplace of the sheet mask”, Asia has now gained the title of the “world’s largest sheet mask innovator”. Europe is lagging behind and makes up 16% of this total. The US has even less of an impact in the skin care sector, sitting at 8%.
While Mintel’s research shows that only 12% of women in the UK have used a sheet or leave-on mask in the 12 month period to March 2017, interest in sheet mask innovation in the UK is growing.
Of those mentioned, 35% of UK consumers aged 16-24 state they are using a greater number of skin care treatments, such as masks.
In the US, just 8% of consumers use facial masks during their evening routine, with just 29% using facial masks on an ‘as-needed’ basis.
The Asian market, however, reveals that the product is “now a frequent feature in many consumers’ skin care routine”.
The big three
Mintel Market Sizes (MMS) data identified China and Japan as among the world’s largest facial care markets at present. The segment is predicted to reach a retail market value of $15.8 bn (€13.5 bn) and $13.5 bn (€11.5 bn) respectively in these markets in 2017. South Korea is already one of the top three facial care markets, with its retail market value expected to hit $6.6 bn (€5.6 bn) in 2017 also.
The majority of sheet mask product launches come from the North Asian region. According to Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD), China makes up 28% of all global sheet mask entries, followed by Taiwan (12%), South Korea (10%), Hong Kong (7%) and Japan (6%).
Consumers, especially in China, are looking for hydration in facial masks. Of those asked, 76% of Chinese women aged 20-49 who use facial masks say they look for the products to provide hydration. Whitening and pore refining are also key concerns with shoppers, with 59% and 47%, respectively looking for these qualities.
“Asian consumers are the biggest users of facial masks and include masks as part of their regular skincare routine,” commented Sharon Kwek, Senior Innovation and Insights Analyst, Beauty and Personal Care, Mintel.
Hurdles to jump
Despite their staggering market share, sheet mask brands do have to overcome difficulties: “While they are the key target markets, they are also the most challenging markets to sustain consumer interest with new product developments”, Kwek noted.
“The facial mask trend will continue to gain strength in the West, as it becomes part of a regular beauty routine for consumers.”
Sharing her views on how users approach skin care regimes, Kwek observed: “Consumers curate their own facial mask routines according to skin type, lifestyle and product offering.”
Looking ahead, Kwek relayed: “In the future, this will drive new product development with different positioning claims and ingredients chosen to match different facial mask formats which deliver maximum efficacy.”
“Brands can look to include local ingredients to appeal to consumers who do not currently use facial masks, and can slowly introduce Asian ingredients that are increasingly of interest to consumers in the global market,” Kwek enthused.
The third and final part of this interview will be published on Tuesday 23rd January 2018.