Mintel senior analyst Vivienne Rudd explains about the evolution of the perennially popular BB creams and how the phenomenon is now giving way to a new generation of increasingly targeted products.
“I think this is probably the fastest trend I have ever seen. It really took off about eight to ten years ago in South Korea and Mintel has been tracking it for the past five years,” said Rudd.
Although the origins of BB creams can be traced back to Germany in the 1950s, when it was developed to soothe skin that was recovering from surgery, contemporary Asia is the source of the current trend, expanding beyond South Korea, into neighbouring Taiwan, Japan and China, before hitting other ASEAN Countries.
Expansion of the category has moved from East to West
But now that trend has expanded worldwide, and having been picked up in the west it has become an essential color cosmetic item for women all over North America and Europe.
“Around 18 months ago we saw the first BB creams launched in the West and the growth of the category has been phenomenal. Indeed, the extent of that growth in the West is underlined by the fact that the number of new BB cream launches in the West now almost matches the number of launches in the East,” said Rudd.
“Because of that incredible growth, the position of the product has evolved significantly. They started off as a product to smooth and nourish the skin, but now they have taken on any number of functions, so you can now have a BB cream with up to ten different products claims on the packaging.”
Product claims and functionality differ between East and West
The emphasis on functionality has evolved along different lines in the East and West. In the East the emphasis is on moisturization, whitening, anti-aging and some amount of sebum control, while the emphasis on product claims in the West is still on moisturisation, with the addition of UV protection as well as anti-aging and anti-wrinkle functions.
“Because the cosmetics industry has always moved on by means of the novelty factor, we have now seen the emergence of CC creams as a new sub category. We first spotted a CC cream in 2009, but they first started to make a significant impact about a year ago,” said Rudd.
“Chanel’s CC cream, which was launched onto the market in China recently, has really served to bring some dynamism to this category, and we’re now starting to see significant CC cream launches in the West with the Olay and L’Oreal brands proving to be the most significant players.”
Then there were DD Creams
But there is another trend on the horizon, with Rudd pointing to the fact that the Mintel database of new product launches showing a number of products identifying as DD creams.
“These are emerging as very heavy duty body and foot creams that are being marketed as daily defense products. We have also seen a self-tanning cream launched in the UK within this new category, which could help to reignite this rather stagnant category.”