NPD Group: Trends in prestige beauty show consumers' desire to play with color

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. — Prestige makeup sales within U.S. department stores were on the rise during the first half of the year, with one of the biggest winners being nail, which experienced robust double-digit growth, according to market research firm the NPD Group.

Prestige makeup sales within U.S. department stores for the first half of 2012 (January through June) grew 8% to $1.8 billion. Unit sales were up 4% to $74 million. All makeup segments experienced growth in the first half of the year. Some of the biggest winners producing double-digit dollar growth were the segments of nail and sets and subsegments, eyebrow, eye liner, and lip color.

While nail continues to be the smallest segment, it experienced the largest growth of all segments at 68% in first half 2012. All the subsegments of nail grew: Color enamel (up 70%), nail care (up 36%) and base/top coats (more than 100%).

“Not a surprise that the nail segment takes the lead once again,” said Karen Grant, VP and senior global industry analyst for NPD. “Fun shades and colors like neons and metallics, along with funky textures and decals have added to this growing trend.”

Makeup set sales, products comprised of more than one palette, saw an increase in dollars and units for first half 2012. The segment brought in $61 million, up 19%. More than 1.6 million sets were purchased in the first half of 2012. The top two sets came from Urban Decay and were Naked2 Palette Set 2011 and Naked Palette Set 2011.

The lip segment kept pace with overall prestige makeup growth at 8%. Lip, the third-largest makeup segment, brought in nearly $305 million in first half of this year. The subsegments that outpaced the segment were: Lip color (up 10%), all other lip (multifunctional lip products and lip moisturizer) (up 54%), and lip applicator (up 9%). Lip gloss and lip liner both increased a modest 3% increase.

Eye which accounts for 28% of makeup sales experienced increases for first half of 2012. The segment saw gains of 5% in dollar sales, generating more than $512 million. Mascara (up 6%), eyeliner (up 11%), and eyebrow (up 17%) were those subsegments that showed growth. All other eye declined by 8% and eye applicator was flat.

Face, the largest segment contributing 49% of makeup dollar sales increased 7% in dollars from last year. Almost 30 million face products were sold in department stores in the first half of 2012 for $891 million. All of the subsegments of face showed growth: Foundation (up 7%), blush (up 7%), concealer (up 7%), powder (up 9%), all other face (multifunctional face products and face primer) (up 14%), and face applicator (up 6%).

“The trends in prestige makeup for the first half of 2012 are quite telling especially when you take a close look at those categories in nail, lip and eye, they exceed sales in the overall market. Consumers continue their desire to play with color, and accentuate and define their eyes. Underlying these trends is one consistent element — they have the lowest price points in the prestige market place,” Grant stated.

According to NPD, the nail and eye categories are all under the average price of prestige makeup. Such products as eye pallet sets that offer 12 shades, equate to less than $5 per shade.

“In prestige makeup, the choices driving trend continue to indicate very calculated investments,” Grant added.

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