Luxury Beauty: Makeup Sales Strong, Fragrance Weaker

American women’s appetite for high-end beauty and fragrance products is still growing strong, with NPD Group reporting that sales of prestige products climbed 6% last year. That growth of some $1 billion brings total spending to $17 billion and marks the third year of consecutive growth.

Makeup made up the bulk of percentage of growth, with color cosmetics sales climbing 12% (and representing 82% of all growth.) But sales of skincare products, once a key growth area, gained just 2%, while luxury fragrances managed only a 1% gain.

NPD says women are most interested in what’s new, with product launches gaining 24% over prior-year gains. And sales made from new products in both skincare and fragrance fell.

In her report, NPD’s global beauty analyst Karen Grant writes that these gains all underscore considerable shifts in the way women think about and shop for high-end beauty products. “A proliferation of trends has fueled growth and innovation in many aspects of the industry; however, it has brought with it a restructuring in beauty,” she says. “As consumers seek feel-good experiences and strive for healthier lifestyles they are, at the same time, redefining the meaning of beauty in their lives.”



For example, products that did show spark in skincare are those that make people’s faces ready for more makeup, such as masks (up 24%), lip treatments (up 20%), and facial exfoliators (up 5%.) And in fragrances, she notes that in keeping with an evolving sense of experiential beauty and wellness, the biggest gains came from non-traditional areas, such as scent diffusers (up 19%) and candles (up 16%.) 

Separately, Estée Lauder just announced it’s expanding a crowd favorite, reintroducing its Victoria Beckham line later this spring. An earlier “limited edition” launch sold out quickly, and the new collection will feature expanded colors on Beckham’s world-famous pout.

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