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Published
Sep 15, 2021
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"Star performers" boost prestige make-up sales in UK - NPD

Published
Sep 15, 2021

Make-up may have struggled as a category in the pandemic, but certain key products within it are outperforming as society works its way back to normal.


Phot: Pexels/Public domain



NPD Group said “star performing” prestige make-up products boosted the slow market recovery with double-digit growth in the first half of 2021.

Specifically, sales of prestige mascara, brow products, tinted moisturiser and setting spray all reported double-digit growth in H1. That said, the total UK prestige make-up market was valued at £200 million in the first half of 2021, down 4% compared to the challenged first half in 2020. It was also down 48% compared to H1 2019.

Make-up has been the slowest category to recover in prestige beauty “due to changes in work patterns and social behaviour, plus the continued practice of wearing face masks”.

The closure of physical stores until April also dented sales. Testers on counters in stores have only just been reintroduced and there’s also been a shift to online retail. Physical store sales dropped 66% in H1 2021 compared to 2019, but while online sales rose 15%, that didn't go anywhere near to making up for the physical shopping losses.

As mentioned, all categories within the super category have faced challenges, but some have recovered better than others. As well as the categories mentioned at the start of this report, lipgloss also performed well compared to the first half in 2020. That may be surprising given that mask wearing is still widespread, but rising sales in this area certainly don't mean that lip products in general have reached anywhere near their 2019 levels.

So what about this star performers? Sales of prestige mascara increased 20% in H1 as consumers put more emphasis on eye products, Mascara accounted for 43% of all eye make-up volume sales compared to 36% in 2019’s H1.

There were fewer new mascara launches in 2021 — 30 compared to 2020’s 36 — but “the launches have had a greater impact on the market”. Benefit, Lancôme, and Charlotte Tilbury all launched full-size mascaras with a separate travel size option, encouraging trial or an additional product for travel/handbag.

In line with the trend for a natural look, tinted moisturisers have seen a resurgence, with sales increasing 19%. Some 94% of them have SPF in their formulations, which aligns with the increasing demand for make-up products that include skincare benefits. Eight of the top 10 face make-up launches in the first half included skincare benefits.

Emma Fishwick, account manager, NPD UK Beauty said: “The make-up market has changed dramatically since the pandemic. How and how often people wear makeup has also changed. Many people continue to work from home (or in a hybrid model) people are socialising less and as a result, the natural look has become more popular. Combine this with continued mask wearing, the absence of defined trends like strobing and contouring and consumer reluctance to spend (compared to pre-pandemic) make-up sales have naturally been affected.”

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