Skincare continues to see good growth, said BW Confidential in a recent report, driven by emerging Asian markets and the rise of the Chinese traveler, which is fueling travel-retail sales and increased investment in the category by major companies. Globally, facial skincare sales rose 4.9% to $78.33 billion, according to Euromonitor. Asia Pacific, which saw sales increase 5.9%, now accounts for around 50% of the market and China has overtaken South Korea as the largest country for skincare in Asia.

In China, skincare grew by 12.8% to $10.63 billion and the prestige segment of the market is forecast to see double-digit growth for the next four years. “Chinese consumers are one of the key growth drivers; they are the source of high revenues for all skincare brands in China, but also outside the local market in Hong Kong and travel retail,” commented Sylvie Mong, Jurlique’s international marketing director. “These consumers were educated to buy skincare as a whole regimen—three to six products at least—unlike Western women who look for all-in-one solutions,” she continued.

The U.S. has also seen impressive growth, writes BW Confidential. Facial skincare was beauty’s best-performing category there in prestige, with sales up 13% in dollars and 9% in units, according to NPD. The beginning of 2012 also looked promising: NPD reported that for January and February skincare saw a 15% growth rate.

In Europe, however, the picture is quite different. The category’s growth has been

lackluster, especially in the prestige segment, for several years. Analysts say prestige in the region is suffering from strong and more accessible offer in mass channels and pharmacies, especially in France.

However, Shiseido France vice president Jean-Charles Viti believes this does not explain everything. “Unit sales are down in markets like France, but there is not really a transfer in sales from prestige to mass or pharmacies; it is more that there is lower consumption of skincare. There is too much on offer and a lot less consumer loyalty,” he said. To combat this problem brands are trying to look for new segments, such as treating dark spots, and in Europe looking to reinforce the serum segment.

To read BW Confidential’s full report on the skincare market go to: