NPD Group sheds light on 2011 U.S., global beauty sales

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. — The total U.S. prestige beauty industry experienced an 11% increase in dollar sales during 2011, according to market research company The NPD Group, with skin care and fragrance sold in U.S. department stores posting double-digit gains.

“In the [United States], [United Kingdom] and China, prestige beauty is enjoying one of the most robust sales periods ever,” stated Karen Grant, VP and senior global industry analyst for The NPD Group. “In the [United States], for example, beauty sales in both the mass and prestige channels were positive month after month in 2011. And while both channels were positive, prestige beauty reigned supreme. From the stellar increases in prestige skin care to the continued gains in makeup to the double-digit rebound of fragrance, prestige beauty is experiencing a time of unprecedented growth.”

In 2011, skin care and fragrance sold in U.S. department stores both posted double-digit dollar growths of 14% and 11%, respectively, while makeup grew 9% compared with 2010.

“In continental Europe,” Grant continued, “where the prestige market is more mature, growth is more tempered, and performance among the categories has not been as dynamic as in the [United States] or [United Kingdom]. But nonetheless, prestige beauty managed to flourish thanks to brand media investment, bigger in-store animation and price promotions.”

In addition, the U.S. food/drug/mass channel experienced a 4% increase in sales for total beauty in 2011 versus 2010. Makeup sales posted the biggest increase at 8%, followed by skin care at 3%, while fragrance sales declined 5% in dollar sales compared with 2010. In national chain stores, fragrance sales grew 5%, according to NPD.