Fragrance and make-up revive US prestige beauty market

Sales were up 25% overall in Q3, while further gains are tipped for the upcoming holiday season as consumers purchase beauty gifts

As the beauty industry recovers from the blow dealt by the Covid-19 pandemic, the US prestige beauty market is bouncing back with a 25% increase in third quarter sales versus the same period in 2020, with make-up and fragrance tipped as the standout performers.

According to the latest data from The NPD Group, prestige make-up sales in the US between July-September 2021 saw a glow up of 24% to US$1.7bn, as restrictions were lifted and consumers were eager to venture outside again – figures which are predicted to increase during the upcoming holiday season.

Face make-up products such as blusher, bronzer, highlighter and tinted moisturiser grew double digits, as well as lipstick and lip gloss as consumers ditched their face masks, while make-up setting sprays and removers also enjoyed a boost.

However, fragrance was the star performer of the quarter, enjoying a sweet scented 38% lift in revenues compared to pre-pandemic 2019, while juice sales – driven by perfumes and edps – shot up 50%, in figures that are predicted to increase as the all-important holiday season approaches, according to The NPD Group.

Skin care, meanwhile – which overtook colour as a consumer favourite during Covid-19 lockdowns with fewer opportunities to dress up and a shift towards wellness and giving their skin some extra TLC – saw a 14% increase to $1.4bn compared to the same period in 2020; interestingly, however, products for the body (such as cleansers and creams) saw more rapid growth in Q3 2021 compared to both the prior than those for the face, while targeted facial skin care products such as serums, lip and eye treatments were also on the up.

Meanwhile, after enjoying double digit growth between April-September 2021, hair care reported a 36% uptick in sales year on year to reach $619m, with hair masks being the fastest-growing segment in Q3 as consumers prioritised their hair's health as well as its appearance, while styling products such as sprays and gels continued to climb as consumers returned to their normal lives and styling routines.

“Today, amid many uncertainties, we are seeing glimmers of normal life return which is helping the beauty industry to experience renewed growth across all its categories,” said Larissa Jensen, Beauty Industry Advisor at The NPD Group.

“Fragrance has emerged as the brightest star and is experiencing unprecedented growth against both 2020 and 2019. With the holiday season upon us, we can expect this momentum to continue through the fourth quarter.”

As the gifting season approaches, 29% of US consumers are planning to spend more on holiday shopping than they did in 2020, the analyst revealed, with beauty ranking among the top ten physical gifts on their shopping lists.

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