NPD: Prestige beauty sales rise after years of decline

PORT WASHINGTON — After years of declines, U.S. prestige beauty experienced a boost in 2010, with skin care proving yet again to be the strongest performer, according to beauty market research conducted by the NPD Group.

The market research company stated that U.S. prestige beauty generated $8.4 billion in 2010, up 4%, compared with $8.19 billion in 2009.

Prestige skin care was the strongest performer among the three beauty categories — skin care, fragrance and makeup. Skin care not only gained back what it had lost during the recession, but the category also surpassed pre-recession levels.

For the first time in two years, prestige makeup experienced category growth. Fueled by the double-digit growth of offerings from primers to anti-aging face products, to rich color options in lip and nail, 5-of-the-6 segments within makeup posted growth: face (up 3%), lip (up 3%), nail (up 39%), eye (up 2%) and other color (up 1%). Gift sets declined but had a unit growth of 3%.

Meanwhile, prestige fragrance experienced dollar sales that posted their first annual gain since 2006 as dollars grew 1% versus 2009, according to NPD. Juices, which excludes fragrance ancillary and gift sets items, grew 4% for both men and women, which helped drive the overall performance of 1% for both. Fragrance launches were up 3%, driven by men's fragrance launches, which grew 10%. Gift sets declined in both the women's (down 1%) and men's (down 5%) market.

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