NPD: Prestige beauty sales drop

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. The economy took its toll on U.S. prestige beauty in 2009, but there were a few pockets of growth, such as skin care for sensitive skin, according to research by market research company the NPD Group.

According to NPD, total U.S. prestige beauty receded to $8.19 billion in 2009, a loss of 6% compared with 2008.

The overall industry decline, according to NPD, was primarily driven by fragrance. Total sales of fragrance were $2.48 billion in 2009, down 10% in both men's and women's. One segment that performed slightly better than the overall market: fragrance gift sets.

Also struggling during 2009 was the prestige skin care category, which posted its first year of declines, down 4% in dollars to $2.47 billion. While the category struggled overall, skin care was the only beauty category to see growth in the fourth quarter 2009, up 2% in dollars. The key driver to the quarter's results was basic skin care, specifically products dedicated to sensitive skin, which saw positive growth --- outperforming anti-aging growth for the first time.

Prestige makeup experienced its second year of declines, down 5% in dollars to $3.16 billion. The only two segments to outperform the category were gift sets (up 2%), fueled by new face-focused sets and the face segment (down 2%), which was driven by mineral-based products. This was aided in part by the fact that 50% more new mineral products were introduced in 2009.