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US Prestige Beauty Sales Rise 11% in Q1

Is makeup making up lost ground?

Things are looking even better for beauty. According to The NPD Group, sales of US prestige beauty products in the first quarter of 2021 were $4.2 billion, an 11% gain compared to Q1 2020. Hair products rose by 48% to $300 million and fragrance grew 45% to $953 million versus one year ago, showing the impact 2020’s first quarter COVID-19 retail lockdown had on certain industry segments, which is now experiencing looser restrictions.
In addition, sales of skin care grew 12% to $1.4 billion.
Makeup sales dropped nine percent to $1.5 billion, said NPD, but the sector appears to be making up ground.  While total makeup is down -9%, the category is making up ground as consumers begin to return to social settings. Makeup highlighters were up +12% YoY and bronzer was up +2%. Eye products continue to outperform the category, as they are not covered by protective face masks, with gains in mascara, eyebrow makeup, false eyelashes, and eye applicators.  
One of the primary takeaways for the prestige beauty industry during the past year has been the consumer’s shift to self-care at home. Even as the vaccine rollout gained momentum in the first quarter of 2021, many consumers continued to prioritize self-care, as evidenced by double and triple-digit gains of hair masks, both facial and body serums, nail care, and candles, said NPD.
Online sales within the prestige beauty segment remained strong, up 33% in the first quarter. Brick-and-mortar sales posted 3% percent year over year, driven in large part by double-digit growth in fragrance and hair sales, NPD reported.
“This time last year the world was in lockdown and prestige beauty industry sales were in free fall. As the weather warmed up in 2020, an anxious consumer sentiment was at odds with the cheerfulness of a newly blossoming spring season. …What a difference a year makes,”  penned Larissa Jensen, beauty industry advisor, The NPD Group, in a blog post last week.
The shift to self-care continues to be seen in the market.
Valentine’s Day helped drive fragrance, with sets with a free gift and perfumes both up by triple-digits, with sales for both increasing sharply in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, according to NPD.
“Strong growth across most categories is being fueled by the anniversary of sales during a period of lockdown in March. This will accelerate over the next quarter before somewhat stabilizing over the latter half of the year. The positive news is that fragrance, skincare, and hair posted growth against 2019, a more accurate representation of industry sales. A reenergized consumer has emerged, fueled by the optimism of warming temperatures, lower case counts, and widespread vaccinations providing the promise of a return to normalcy,” said Jensen. 

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