British women are less likely to use anti-wrinkle creams than other western European women, research suggests.
Market analyst Mintel found 36% of British women used the creams compared with about a half of French women and Spaniards and two thirds of Germans.
German women were most concerned about ageing, with many girls using anti-ageing creams from age 15.
But in Britain, 65% of the 25,000 women questioned said drinking plenty of water was the key to good skin.
German women not only used the most products but were more likely to use the to ward off the future effects of ageing rather than to correct existing lines and wrinkles.
The poll which found 63% of anti-ageing cream users admitted to this, compared to 46% in Britain.
Manufacturers are likely to use the information to try to persuade more UK women to start using anti-ageing products to preserve their looks.
Michelle Strutton, senior consumer analyst at Mintel, says: “Although older women throughout Europe naturally constitute the prime consumer base for anti-ageing skincare, manufacturers are keen to target younger women with products that are preventative, rather than curative.”
Although fewer French women use anti-ageing products than German women, they collectively spend far more on facial skincare – including moisturisers, cleansers and toners – than any other western European country.
FACIAL SKINCARE SPENDING
France: 2.2bn euros (£1.5bn)
Italy: 1.1bn euros (£0.8bn)
Britain: 791m euros (£545m)
Spain: 502m euros (£346m
Mintel says sales are expected to reach 2.2bn euros (£1.5bn) this year, or 40% of the western European market – as much as those in Spain, Germany and Britain combined.
France is followed by Italy, with a market worth nearly 1.1bn euros (£0.8bn).
The British facial skincare market is worth just over 791m euros (£545m), accounting for just 15% of the market.
However, Mintel expects British women to start buying more facial products over the next five years, boosting the market 24% to be worth almost 1bn euros (£0.7bn). Ms Strutton said: “The ageing population across the board in Europe is now really starting to have an impact on consumer markets.
“Because of this the key issue facing skincare manufacturers is how to maximise the potential of the older consumer aged 50 and above.
“This will require a fresh approach rather than simply grouping all over 50s together as has usually been done in the past… We could see tailored skincare solutions based on age, skin type and life stage.”
Some 10,000 people in Germany, Spain and France and 25,000 people in Great Britain were questioned for the poll.