UK prestige beauty industry generates £2.6bn in sales for 2019, reports The NPD Group

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The sale of prestige women’s face skincare products in the UK reported an increase of 2% in the 12 months to the end of 2019 according to The NPD Group. The total value of the prestige beauty market in the UK was valued at £2.6 billion in 2019, a decline of 3% when compared to the same period in 2018.

The £1.3 billion fragrance category still represents the largest share of beauty sales. Sales of men’s fragrance increased 1%, while the total fragrance market declined 1%.

The prestige make-up market was valued at £721 million in 2019. Reporting a decline of 8% in 2019, this is attributed to the return of the ‘natural look’. This trend has boosted growth in women’s face skincare, where sales increased 2% in 2019, with the overall skincare reporting sales of £605 million.

“‘Natural’ is a big buzz word in many industries, especially beauty – in terms of product ingredients as well as consumers looking to achieve a more natural look. How makeup responds to this movement will be key to its revival,” said Emma Fishwick, Account Manager, NPD UK Beauty. “Historically, NPD data has detected a shift between makeup and skincare every four to five years. Based on this, and the slowdown in makeup that began to take hold in 2017, I anticipate we’ll see makeup rebound in a few years.”

Online beauty boost
The market for online beauty products continues to perform well, reporting an increase in sales of 6% in 2019 compared to 2018. Ecommerce now accounts for 22% of all sales in the prestige beauty market, while Bricks and Mortar represents 78% of the market. Ecommerce lends itself to loyal consumers purchasing repeat favourites however, it currently lacks the ability to allow the consumer to trial and experiment which is where the high street excels.

Disruption and opportunity
The British retail sector faced a challenging time in 2019, with political change, continued uncertainty around Brexit, low consumer confidence and a shift in spending habits which challenge the idea of excessive spending on non-essentials. High street outlets and department stores remain important as prestige beauty relies on a hands-on, consultant-led approach with workshops, sampling, gift with purchase and make-up lessons all part of the retail mix. The introduction of Augmented Reality such as Magic Mirrors are an exciting opportunity to merge digital with Bricks and Mortar.

Emma Fishwick, account manager, NPD UK Beauty, says: “2019 has been a challenging year for the prestige beauty market, driven in part by of conscious consumerism and sustainability. Ecommerce is growing and the way customers shop and interact with brands is also fluctuating. Agile brands are responding to this ‘disruption’, adapting their retail offering with more experiential retail opportunities for customers.”