Eye makeup makes its statement

Women are making a statement — with their eyes.

It has long been said that the eyes have it, but beauty mavens are increasingly embracing eye-defining makeup for some serious sex appeal.

The trend is playing out in the prestige beauty market, as the NPD Group reported earlier this year that sales of prestige eye makeup grew 9% in the United States to $1.1 billion for the 12 months ended December 2013.

“U.S. consumers are embracing the art of eye makeup with the addition of products that go beyond the usual staples to their beauty tool boxes,” said Karen Grant, NPD’s VP and senior global industry analyst. “Today, less traditional items are emerging in importance. Eye brow products are leading growth, and in larger segments within eye, enhanced benefits are the aspects fueling increases.”

According to NPD, multibenefit (up 9%), volumizing (up 11%) and long-wear (up 18%) products are driving sales of prestige mascara. In eyeliner, growth came from pencils (up 7%), long-wear (up 11%) and waterproof (up 10%). NPD noted that long-wear is a theme carried throughout eye makeup, showing sales growth in the eyebrow products (up 21%) and shadow (up 9%) as well.

The focus on eye-defining makeup also is impacting the mass market. According to IRI, sales were up about 4% for eyebrow makeup, up 8.8% for eye combo products, up 5.7% for eyeliner and up 1.8% for mascara for the 52 weeks ended Jan. 26 at total U.S. multi-outlets. Eyeshadow, however, experienced a 7% sales decline.

Manufacturers are responding to the trend. In February, the next evolution of the Fergie CenterStage Collection by Wet n Wild hit Walgreens stores. Among the 23 new products are long-wearing eyeliners in striking colors and intense volume mascara.

For spring, Hard Candy’s collection, available exclusively at Walmart, launched a range of new products, including Lash Ink, a four-day lash stain; a 12-hour Waterproof Eye Crayon in eight shades; and eyeliner pencils in 18 shades.

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