Sales of Prestige Beauty Products Surpass Pre-​Recession Levels

According to beauty market research conducted by The NPD Group, Inc., in 2011, total U.S. prestige beauty generated $9.5 billion, an increase of 11% in dollars, compared to $8.6 billion in 2010. In addition, the outstanding dollar results were achieved with all beauty categories surpassing pre-​recession levels. 

In the 15 years that NPD has been tracking the prestige beauty industry, we have never seen growth like this – especially across all categories,”said Karen Grant, vice president and senior global industry analyst, The NPD Group.


  • Prestige fragrances experienced the strongest dollar and unit performance in 15 years, dollars grew +11% and units grew +7%.
  • Juices grew +14% for both women and men, driving overall fragrance performance of +11% for women and +12 percent for men.
  • Fragrance juices priced at a premium of $100 and above, helped to propel growth for the category with unit gains of +45% versus a year ago.
  • Fragrance launches were up +21% overall, driven by women’s launches, which grew by +33%.
  • Celebrity brands, specifically women’s, were the winners in 2011 with gains of +57.


  • Prestige skincare continued to lead prestige beauty with growth of +14% in dollars and +9% in units.
  • In 2011, all six segments posted dollar and unit gains versus 2010: Face ($ +13%, U +9%), Sets & Kits ($ +27%, U +16%), Body ($ +2%, U +2%), Hair ($ +16%, U +12%), and Sun ($ +11%, U +8%).
  • Since 2000, anti-​aging facial skincare has grown 16 dollar share points to account for 63% of prestige facial skincare or $1.5 billion, a +17% increase over 2010.
  • Products that have both anti-​aging and brightening benefits almost doubled in share in the past four years.
  • Premium face products priced at $75 and above experienced a +21% dollar increase and a +23% gain in units for the year.


  • Prestige makeup saw its second year of increases in both dollars (+9%) and units (+6%). It was the first time in 15 years of prestige data reporting, that all makeup segments grew in both dollars and units.
  • Eye shadow grew +14%, the first increase since 2006, Lip color posted a +13% growth and Nail had the largest performance in both dollars (+67%) and units (+88%).
  • Eye launches gained seven share points to be the largest launch segment in makeup with 39% dollar share.
  • Premium price points outpaced overall prestige makeup performance. Premium saw the biggest increases in Face (+14%), Eye (+56%), and Sets (25%).

What is most intriguing about the acceleration in prestige beauty performance is the degree to which it stands in stark contrast to the overridingly lackluster consumer outlook. Historically, prestige beauty performance followed the trend of consumer sentiments, however, that is not the case today. Though consumer confidence has inched back to the 2008 pre-​recession levels, it remain quite shaky and is actually among the lowest levels the nation has experienced in the past 30 years. Yet, prestige beauty thrives. And although prestige beauty growth continues at both ends of the spectrum, it is the high-​end, premium price points that experienced the strongest gains”, ended Grant.

[Source:  Beauty market research conducted by The NPD Group.  1 Mar. 2012.  Web.  2 Mar. 2012.]