The cost-of-living crisis might be leading those buying essentials to opt for less expensive options, but the prestige beauty category is witnessing consumers upgrade to larger sizes and more potent formulas.
According to The NPD Group, the UK prestige beauty market was valued at £926m in the first half of 2022, an increase of 23% on the same period in 2021.
The market research firm attributes this dynamism to a trend towards premiumisation.
“Consumers are increasingly choosing to buy more premium products with a higher average sales price in the prestige beauty market,” says Emma Fishwick, Account Manager, NPD UK Beauty.
“While we recognise that there is pressure on people’s expenditure now, people are seeking better value for money – and larger sizes and more potent formulas are more cost effective to buy.
“We believe that people are buying less and upgrading their purchases to those with more innovative formulations, as in make-up and skin care, and in fragrance they are opting for more expensive bottles and the most potent fragrance formulas.
“There is also the lure of premium brands where people can ‘buy into’ designer brands in an affordable way.”
NPD found the trend to be most evident in the fragrance market.
Both men’s and women’s eau de parfum (EDP) and perfume formats are growing faster than the rest of the market; in H1 2022 sales of women’s perfume formats rose 137% compared with H1 2021, and sales of men’s perfume formats doubled at 100% in the same period.
Total sales of women’s fragrance juices, also including eau de toilette (EDT), increased 34%. Meanwhile, sales of fragrance juices over 100ml in size rose 50% in the first half of 2022, compared with the same period in 2021.
Sales of fragrance juices in H1 2022 with a retail price over £125 now equate to 11% of the mix of total fragrance sales compared with 7% of the mix of total fragrance sales in H1 2021.
Further demonstrating the premiumisation trend, sales of fragrance products with a retail price of £125 and above increased 91% in the first half of 2022, compared with sales for the total fragrance market where the uptick was 33%.
The NPD Group witnessed similar patterns in make-up and skin care.
The average sales price of prestige foundations was £30 in H1 2022, an increase of 10% compared with the same period last year.
This is attributed to innovation and newly-launched products; according to NPD, the top five new foundation products launched in the first half of this year have an average price of between £32.45 and £37.69.
Meanwhile, in skin care, the average sales price for women’s skin care products increased 7% in H1 2022. Women’s prestige skin care sales were up 8% year-on-year while mid-range skin care sales increased just 4%, indicating that women are opting for more premium products with a higher price point.