NPD: Nail, color cosmetics helped fuel growth of prestige beauty in first half 2011

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. — Those within the mass-market beauty industry are wise not to rest on their laurels, as research indicates that sales of prestige makeup and skin care in U.S. department stores surpassed pre-recession volume in the first half of 2011, according to market research company the NPD Group.

In first half 2011 (January through June), prestige women’s and men’s skin care dollar sales increased 14% and 9%, respectively, compared with first half 2008. Prestige makeup sales increased as well, nearly 4%, compared with pre-recessionary levels.

All categories of prestige makeup posted growth. The strongest increases can be attributed to the rediscovery by consumers of color cosmetics, such as eye and lip products, as well as the resurgence of the nail and other color segments. Most outstanding growth was in the nail category, which has increased 65% since first half 2008.

When looking at prestige skin care, every segment except for body helped bring the category back to meet its pre-recessionary levels; however, the star category for prestige skin care was sets and kits, with 56% growth, compared with first half 2008, according to NPD. The sets and kits segment experienced the highest dollar growth among all the segments for the past three semi-annual periods.

Prestige fragrance, while not yet reaching pre-recessionary levels, continues to build momentum. In first half 2011, women’s and men’s prestige fragrances generated 4% and 2% less dollar sales, versus first half 2008. However, when compared with first half 2010, women’s and men’s prestige fragrance sales increased 14% and 8%, respectively, a 10% dollar growth in total prestige fragrance overall.

“If prestige fragrance sales momentum continues at the accelerated levels experienced since April 2011, sales in the second half of 2011 may well exceed the second half of 2008,” stated Karen Grant, VP and senior global industry analyst for the NPD Group.

“Historically, we saw fragrance purchasing follow the consumer confidence trend. When sentiments were low, so were fragrance sales. However, the trend in fragrance appears to have shifted. While fragrance suffered the steepest declines at the start of the recession, there has been a turnaround in recent months, even though consumer confidence has not yet fully recovered. Consumers are gravitating to classics and new scents, as well as high-end and niche brands,” Grant added.

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