A greater number of male shoppers, price inflation and women's search for eternally youthful looks will help the health and beauty sector to its highest growth rate in a decade, according to new research from Verdict.
The firm's latest report - UK Health & Beauty Retailers 2008 - forecasts that this sector of retail will increase, aided by people trading up to more expensive products in categories such as skincare.
In 2007, consumer spending on healthy and beauty items rose by 4.7 per cent to £15.6 billion, outperforming total UK retail again, as it has done every year since 2003.
"In uncertain times people are still willing to spend money on making themselves look good and feel good," said Carol Ratcliffe, retail analyst at Verdict and author of the report.
Men are also investing more, with total sales of men's toiletries forecast to grow by 7.7 per cent in 2008.
In terms of the retailers which are benefitting from this, Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrison have all gained. Of all the major health and beauty retailers, Tesco saw the biggest market share gain in 2007, increasing its share by 0.3 percentage points to 18.3 per cent.
Between them, the big four alone had sales in this sector of £6.3 billion - or 40.6 per cent of the market - in 2007.
In 2008, Verdict expects them to have a combined share of 40.8 per cent of the market, up from just 31.7 per cent in 2003.