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Fragrance Takes a Hit as Prestige Beauty Sales Fall

November 30, -0001

According to the NPD Group, the total U.S. prestige beauty industry showed a decline of 3.3% in dollar sales in 2008 vs. 2007. The findings were released by the Port Washington, NY-based market research company at its Hot off the Press event at the Rainbow Room in New York City. Of all the categories tracked by NPD in the U.S., fragrance experienced the biggest decline. Still, senior global industry analyst and vice president, beauty, Karen Grant believes there may be a silver lining.

“Fragrance may hold the greatest opportunity for growth. The most pressing concerns for the fragrance category are not only the loss of users, but decreasing frequency of usage,” she said. “It is important that the industry find new ways to engage consumers, especially as they become more independent about their product selection.”

Makeup also struggled in 2008. While most categories across makeup were in decline, overall growth in skin care remained flat in the U.S., according to NPD. In particular, anti-aging products continue to show promise.

On a global basis, other prestige beauty markets outpaced the U.S.’s performance in 2008. China reported impressive sales growth in the fragrance, makeup, and skin care categories, as did Mexico. Italy and France showed an increase in makeup sales, while skin care sales posted declines in both countries. Fragrance sales were flat in France and in Italy.

NPD reported that the U.S. food/drug/mass (FDM) channel was flat in 2008. By sector, fragrance sales dropped, however, makeup and skin care (excluding hair care) sales experienced growth.

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