According to market research from the NPD Group, sales of prestige beauty products grew 9 percent (to $4.2 billion) in the first quarter of 2018 mostly due to the 14 percent rise in skincare sales (to $1.5 billion). Within skin care, toners/clarifiers rose 19 percent, eye and lip treatments rose 14 percent, face moisturizers rose 11 percent and age specialist products rose 13 percent—compared to the 4 percent decline experienced during the same period last year. The suncare segment experienced even greater growth, with sunscreen and self-tanner sales up 47 and 38 percent, respectively.
Speaking on the first quarter’s performance, Larissa Jensen, executive director and beauty industry analyst for the NPD Group, said, “Consumer interest in wellness, ingredients and natural brands continues to fuel skin care and bring attention to the category, as well as excite consumers into brick and mortar stores. For the first time in more than three years, the channel is responsible for the majority of the gains in the category.”
Additionally, sales rose 7 percent (to $2 billion) in the U.S. prestige makeup market. Within makeup, lip gloss sales grew by 19 percent, while lip color declined 3 percent. In the face market segment, foundation (the biggest seller) sales grew 7 percent. Eye makeup experienced similar growth, with eye shadow and mascara sales up 15 and 10 percent, respectively.
Jensen commented, “Despite kicking off 2018 with the strongest launch volume in three years, makeup’s growth is in line with last year, indicating existing products are not as strong as they were a year ago. Even so, the category has maintained a positive momentum that is encouraging in a market that has become increasingly fragmented as competition continues to grow outside of traditional channels.”
Fragrance sales grew 9 percent (to $706 million), and fragrance juices also rose by 9 percent compared to a flat performance in Q1 2017. Sales went up 68 percent in the home scents category, which was led by candles and diffusers.
Commenting on this growth, Jensen added, “The last two holiday months of December and February have shown significant improvement over the prior year. This positive momentum continues in March as we head into Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. With a heavy reliance on holiday periods, this may signal a hopeful time for fragrance in 2018.”