Sales of premium beauty products in the UK grew by 9.4% to £1.7bn in 2011, according to research from The NPD Group.
Fragrance is both the largest and fastest growing sector in the premium beauty market with sales up by 10.7% year-on-year to £815m.
This performance was fueled by the launch of the new designer fragrance of Jimmy Choo, said NPD.
Designer scents push prestige fragrance ahead
New launches as well as re-launches of existing lines contributed to the strong performance of prestige scents last year.
June Jensen, director for The NPD Group’s UK beauty team, said: “In 2011 some manufacturers tried a new approach – launching fragrances at the start of the year to maximise share of voice and sales opportunities in what is a quieter time for the sector – rather than waiting for the Christmas season when up to 60% of all sales have traditionally been made.
“Launched in January 2011, the Jimmy Choo fragrance was publicised throughout the year, culminating in a strong push in the run up to the all-important holiday season. High-end fashion brands are increasingly moving into the premium beauty market allowing consumers to indulge in affordable luxury. While not everyone is lucky enough to be able to afford a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes, being able to own the fragrance gives consumers the chance to own a part of the luxury brand.”
Big brands take prestige make up to strong performance
The start of the year saw a strong push on lip colour, with launches and promotional activity from Lancôme, Dior, YSL, Chanel and Estee Lauder among others, said NPD.
This contributed towards the overall market growth in make up of 8.5% for the year, according to researchers.
The big story in the second half of the year was the launch of Benefit’s They’re Real mascara in August 2011. The launch was communicated exclusively using social media including YouTube, while support activity from consultants in-store was a crucial part of the strategy that eschewed advertising in traditional media such as TV and magazines, according to NPD.
Existing skincare lines see slower growth
Having been the fastest growing sector in 2010, skincare growth slowed last year although in most sectors a growth of 8.2% would still be very pleasing. Existing ranges in the category grew more slowly than in make up and fragrance and are the main reason for the slowdown.
Jensen said: “The UK prestige beauty market is experiencing one of the most robust sales periods ever. Brand media investment, bigger in-store animation and price promotions have all been crucial foundations of this growth. The in-store personal beauty consultant is more prevalent within department stores in the UK.
“Prestige Beauty will remain a competitive environment in 2012, along with exciting new launches and manufacturers are likely to continue to offer additional value by offering gifts with purchase. 2011’s strong performance should reassure the industry the consumer loves beauty, wants beauty and feels a need for beauty – however tough the economic environment might be.”