Makeup is back in style in a big way, pushing skincare products to the back of the shelf. And Ulta Beauty's latest financial results offer plenty of proof for this trend, with the company’s first-quarter sales setting records.
The retailer says net sales zoomed to $2.3 billion, up from $1.9 billion in last year's comparable period. Net income rose to $331.4 million, up from $230.3 million, beating analyst expectations as Ulta raised its forecast for the year ahead.
Comparable store sales gained 18%.
The Bolingbrook, Illinois company saw double-digit sales gains in every product category. Cosmetics came in especially strong, surpassing pre-pandemic levels in the mass and prestige category.
"The makeup recovery is progressing faster than we expected coming into this year," said Dave Kimbell, chief executive officer, in a conference call, discussing the results. Prestige products, buoyed by new launches such as Fenty Beauty, did best.
He said foundation, concealers, eyeliners, and lipstick continue to deliver strong growth from a trend standpoint.
In a new report, NPD Group says that the jump in makeup sales is just the latest shift in beauty trends, with this one linked to TikTok trends.
A new report on surging makeup sales says color is back, knocking the "clean beauty" trend -- with its emphasis on skin care over color -- off consumers' bathroom countertops.
"In the first quarter of 2022, sales revenue in the U.S. skincare category grew at half the rate of makeup, signifying a changing of the guard," writes Jennifer Famiano, beauty analyst at the NPD Group, in her report. "Makeup has now returned to the spotlight."
Since this category is more in demand, retailers are discounting it less, and sales of non-promoted products are on the rise. "Consumer demand for makeup is high, so retailers do not need to incentivize purchases," writes Famiano,.
TikTok is partially behind the shift, with many videos featuring under-blushing and lip contouring trends.
Conversely, Famiano says facial products in the skincare category are increasingly discounted.
The notable exception is sunscreen, "one of the strongest sales performers so far this year."