NPD Group Sees Several Double-digit Increases in Prestige Beauty Sales

According to beauty market research conducted by The NPD Group, Inc., year-to-date, January through May 2011, total prestige makeup sales increased by 9% to $1.4 billion in U.S. department stores. For the month of May alone, makeup posted its strongest dollar performance (+11%) in the last three years. Prestige makeup segments (face, eye, lip, sets, other color and nail) all posted healthy sales gains in the first five months. The trends in dramatic eyes, soft lip shades, and bold and bright nail colors all contributed to the growth.

The eye segment gained nearly 10% dollar growth during January through May 2011 versus the same time period in 2010. Sub-segments such as eye shadow and mascara both grew 11% in dollar sales, while eyebrow products grew 10%. In mascara, all the products with benefits showed growth. The two benefits that experienced the largest growth in mascara were volume and definition, growing 17% and 14%, respectively.

For January through May 2011, according to The NPD Group’s BeautyTrends and based on dollars sold, the three top-selling prestige mascara products were:

  1. Lancome Definicils High Definition Mascara
  2. Clinique High Impact Mascara
  3. And Lancome Hypnose Drama Mascara

"The trend in makeup today is all about accentuating. The return in popularity of eye products comes with a shift from strong or playful colors, and all-purpose mascaras, to products that subtly punctuate and dramatize features around a flawless and yet natural looking face," said Karen Grant, vice president and senior global industry analyst, The NPD Group.

"The triple play is in eye shadow, eyebrow and mascara. Eyes are defined by eye shadows in nude to neutral shades, offset by defined brows, and emphasized with full, striking lashes. This return to drama—sophisticated, subtle drama, which we began to see in the latter half of 2010 plays upon fashion, as well as, perfectly complementing the natural trend in face products," said Grant.

The lip segment continues to do well, due mostly to the growth in lip color. In the first five months, lip color posted double-digit dollar growth of 13%, compared to the same time last year, while the once very popular lip gloss segment increased only 1% in dollar sales. Pink was the dominant color, garnering most of the lip color growth in the first five months of the year.

For January through May 2011, according to The NPD Group’s BeautyTrends and based on dollars sold, the three top-selling prestige lip color products were:

  1. MAC Lipstick
  2. Lancome L’Absolu Rouge
  3. And Chanel Rouge Coco Shine

The biggest growth in the prestige makeup category came from the smallest segment (representing only 1% of prestige makeup dollar share). The total nail category, consisting of base coats/top coats, color enamel, and nail care, grew a whopping 57% in dollar sales versus January through May 2010. Popular shades year-to-date were somewhat of a toss between girlie colors such as pink and mysterious, gothic-like shades such as black.

For January through May 2011, according to The NPD Group’s BeautyTrends and based on dollars sold, the three top-selling nail color brands were:

  1. Chanel Le Vernis Nail Enamel
  2. Lippmann Collection Nail Enamels
  3. Estee Lauder Pure Color Nail Lacquer

"As consumers continue to gradually emerge from the great recession, the current sentiment among women seems to be ‘celebrate your girlhood.’ Pink, pink and more pink, continues to lead the way in both lip and nail color. The popularity of lip color, a category that had struggled for most of the past decade, suggests that even younger consumers are now seeing these products as a fashionable option to gloss," continued Grant. "And, as the party continues, nail color, which can provide an indulgence for under $20 dollars, continues to explode in popularity at both color extremes—black for the bolder and pink for the softer touch. Prestige makeup sales are soaring this summer due to the strength of offerings that are easy to adopt and enticing with fashion [and] fun, as well as functionality," ended Grant.

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