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Summer Heating Up Prestige Makeup Sales


PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y.—Summer isn’t just heating up the temperature, its heating makeup sales, too. According to beauty market research conducted by The NPD Group Inc., total prestige makeup sales increased by 9 percent to $1.4 billion in U.S. department stores (year-to-date, January to May 2011). May boasted the strongest makeup dollar performance in the last three years with an 11-percent increase. Prestige makeup segments (face, eye, lip, sets, other color and nail) all posted healthy sales gains in the first five months. The trends in dramatic eyes, soft lip shades, and bold and bright nail colors all contributed to the growth.

The eye segment gained nearly 10 percent dollar growth during January to May 2011 versus the same time period in 2010. Sub-segments like eye shadow and mascara both grew 11 percent in dollar sales, while eyebrow products grew 10 percent. In mascara, all the products with benefits showed growth. The two benefits that experienced the largest growth in mascara were volume and definition, growing 17 and 14 percent, respectively.

The NPD Group reported the top three best-selling prestige mascara brands (according to dollars sold) January to May 2011 were Lancome Definicils High Definition Mascara, Clinique High Impact Mascara and Lancome Hypnose Drama Mascara.

“The trend in makeup today is all about accentuating," said Karen Grant, vice president and senior global industry analyst, The NPD Group. “The return in popularity of eye products comes with a shift from strong or playful colors and all-purpose mascaras, to products that subtly punctuate and dramatize features around a flawless and yet natural looking face."

The lip segment continues to do well, due mostly to the growth in lip color. In the first five months, lip color posted double-digit dollar growth of 13 percent, compared to the same time last year, while the once very popular lip gloss segment increased only 1 percent in dollar sales. Pink was the dominant color, garnering most of the lip color growth in the first five months of the year. According to the NPD Group, the top three best-selling prestige lip color products January to May 2011 (according to dollars sold) were MAC Lipstick, Lancome L’Absolu Rouge and Chanel Rouge Coco Shine.

The biggest growth in the prestige makeup category came from the smallest segment (representing only 1 percent of prestige makeup dollar share). The total nail category, consisting of base coats/top coats, color enamel and nail care, grew 57 percent in dollar sales versus January to May 2010. Popular shades year-to-date were somewhat of a toss between girlie colors like pink and mysterious, gothic-like shades such as black.

“As consumers continue to gradually emerge from the great recession, the current sentiment among women seems to be ‘celebrate your girlhood.’  Pink, pink, and more pink, continues to lead the way in both lip and nail color. The popularity of lip color, a category that had struggled for most of the past decade, suggests even younger consumers are now seeing these products as a fashionable option to gloss," Grant said. “Prestige makeup sales are soaring this summer due to the strength of offerings that are easy to adopt and enticing with fashion, fun, as well as functionality."  

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