Premium make up products defy recession, latest NPD Group analysis shows

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Prestige make up, including lipstick, has defied recession and increased in sales, according to the latest NPD Group analysis.

The total beauty market (which also includes fragrance and skincare) grew 5% in annual sales 2012 vs. annual sales 2011 – but make up sales grew more than twice as fast at 11%.

One of the reasons for the growth of make up could be because it is the more affordable category within overall prestige beauty, said researchers. The average sales price (in YTD December 2012) of a product in the fragrance category is £31.79 and in skincare it’s £27.23. Make up comes in at considerably less – £21.00. 

NPD Group research shows all main make up segments experienced a surge in value sales for the year ending December 2012, with eye brow make up topping the list at +41% YoY, followed by make up sets (+21% YoY), nail make up (+15% YoY), foundation (+14% YoY), blush (+12% YoY), mascara (+10% YoY) and powder and lip make up both at +9% YoY.

Make up accounted for 18% of all prestige beauty sales made ahead of Christmas 2012, which is 2% more than the previous year, said NPD Group. December posted even better results for the make up category with value sales growth of +13% YoY. Make up sets were the most popular segment accounting for 21% in value sales, more than double the average share for the full year. Amongst the best sellers were sets offered on a ‘purchase-with-purchase’ basis, as well as mascara sets, lip gloss sets, and multi-product sets with trial sizes.

June Jensen, director for NPD Group beauty UK, said: “With the average price of a make up product a good deal more affordable than other prestige beauty items, it really is an affordable indulgence. Continuing to buy prestige beauty products that provide a little bit of luxury is a trend we’ve seen throughout the current challenging economy and is consistent with the ethos behind the original Lipstick Index. 

“The difference is it’s not just lips anymore, it applies right across the make up category, something we can see in the strong sales performance in make up across the year, and in particular in December. With the strong sales of gift sets last month, many women will have delighted in receiving prestige make up for Christmas.”