Sales of US prestige beauty soar in 2021

Spending on cosmetics has increased in the market from figures in 2019, but make-up is lagging

Sales within the US prestige beauty segment remained strong for the first three months of 2021, according to results published by NPD Group.

Compared with sales up to the period ended March in 2020, the hair care segment saw a 48% boost, the best performing category of the sectors, followed by fragrance with sales soaring 45% to US$953m.

Skin care also saw an uptick in popularity for the period with a 12% increase in sales, however, make-up’s recovery has been slower.

Total colour cosmetics sales were down 9%, but it is making up ground as consumers begin to return to social settings, said NPD Group.

According to findings, highlighter products were highest in demand among shoppers, up 12% year-on-year and bronzer saw a modest 2% increase.

Eye products, however, continue to dominate the category, which has been triggered by the compulsory need to wear face masks in many outdoor settings.



In August last year, NPD Group reported the UK’s lip segment has decreased its share of the prestige make-up category from 14% pre-lockdown to 12% at the time, while eye products’ total share increased from 22% to 24% as face masks become a permanent feature of consumers’ outdoor wardrobe.

“Strong growth across most categories is being fueled by the anniversary of sales during a period of lockdown in March,” said Larissa Jensen, Beauty Industry Advisor, NPD Group.

“This will accelerate over the next quarter before somewhat stabilising over the latter half of the year.

“The positive news is that fragrance, skin care and hair posted growth against 2019, a more accurate representation of industry sales.”

She continued: “A re-energised consumer has emerged, fueled by the optimism of warming temperatures, lower case counts and widespread vaccinations providing the promise of a return to normalcy.”

As can be expected from the current climate, online sales continued to rise 33% for the three month period, but bricks-and-mortar is showing some signs of revival.

Shopping in-store rose 3% year-on-year, which was partly driven by double-digit growth in fragrance and hair sales.

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