High-End Beauty Sales Up; Mass Products Struggling

Anyone looking for more evidence of the gap between the haves and the have-nots can just stroll down the lipstick aisle. NPD Group reports that sales of prestige beauty products -- those sold in department stores -- gained 5% in 2013. But the lower-end brands sold in drugstores struggled, gaining just 1%.

Among the prestige labels, NPD reports that skincare and makeup was especially strong -- both up 7% in dollar sales from the prior year -- while fancy fragrances were flat. Direct-to-consumer sales grew 19%. But the more expensive products were, the better they sold. Fragrances priced $100 and higher jumped 30% in sales, and makeup priced at $60 and up climbed 28%.

Drugstore brands had a tougher go of it. IRI Worldwide says that while beauty industry sales stabilized last year, “it’s the first time in several years that sales have not beaten the CPG average. While typically enjoying 3% growth, this year’s beauty industry eked out less than 1% growth.” Makeup gained 2%, while mass fragrance sales sank 6%.



Regardless of price point, however, multifunctional products were key to last year’s sales, and are expected to broaden their appeal for customers in every channel. “The attitude across the board reflects a new era of immediacy, looking for the quick fix of alphabet creams, masks, and illuminators,” writes Karen Grant, NPD’s VP and senior global industry analyst, in the report. 

In its forecast for beauty and personal care products, market researcher Mintel points out that the lines between beauty technology are becoming increasingly blurry, with overlaps between skincare, hair care and color cosmetics. As a result, it says mixology will be the year’s biggest buzzword, with 70% of American women interested in multifunctional lip products, and 65% curious about multitasking facial coverage products. In part, it’s because 68% of women perceive these products as time savers. But it also reflects financial concerns, with 63% saying multitaskers, such as BB, CC and DD creams, also reduce costs.

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