Prestive Beauty Sales on the Rise, Bouyed by Nail Care Products

According to beauty market research conducted by The NPD Group, Inc., total prestige makeup sales increased by nine percent to $1.4 billion in U.S. department stores year-​to-​date, January through May 2011.  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 vs. the same time period in 2010. Sub-​segments like 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.

"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.

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 vs. January through May 2010. Popular shades year-​to-​date were somewhat of a toss between girlie colors like pink and mysterious, gothic-​like shades such as black.

"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, fun, as well as functionality," ended Grant.

[Source:  "Beauty Trends."  The NPD Group.  27 July 2011.  web.  10 Aug. 2011.]