Prestige beauty sales in the UK increased 46% in the week before Christmas, reports The NPD Group

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Prestige beauty sales in the UK increased 46% in week 51 (ending 25th December 2021) compared to the same week in 2020, according to The NPD Group. Prestige beauty sales in week 51 last year also increased 20% when compared to pre-pandemic figures in the same period in 2019.

Against a backdrop of uncertainty with additional restrictions and the emerging Omicron variant, prestige beauty sales had been challenged in early December. In the final retail week before Christmas, consumers returned to the high street and shopping online, spending £161.6M in week 51 2021, an increase of £26.5M compared to the same period 2019. It was a positive story across the sector, unit sales increased 6%, and the average sales price increased 13% in week 51 compared to the same week in 2019.

Last-minute consumer demand for prestige beauty products saw growth in both Brick and Mortar stores and Ecommerce channels. Ecommerce accounted for 56% of the market gains and sales increased 84% compared to 2019.

Sales in Brick and Mortar stores in week 51 increased 64% in 2021 compared to 2020 which was due to a high proportion of the country being in regional lockdowns last year. Sales in Brick and Mortar stores during week 51 also performed well against 2019, increasing 10% compared to 2019, helped by the timing of Christmas day, ensuring consumers had three additional days to shop pre-Christmas.

Fragrance drives growth
Fragrance has driven growth in the market during the pre-Christmas. Fragrance sales in week 51 increased 53% and 31% respectively when compared to the same week in 2020 and 2019.

Sales of men’s fragrance increased 36% and sales of women’s fragrance grew 28% in week 51 2021 when compared to the same period in 2019. Sales of skincare, makeup and hair also reported double digit growth in week 51 compared to the same week in 2020.

Subsegments that recorded the highest percentage growth in week 51 compared to the same week in 2020 include: Bubble Bath (+706%), Perfume (+145%), Hair Masks (+131%) and Candles (+108%).

Emma Fishwick, account manager, NPD UK Beauty, explains: “After a slow start in December due to uncertainty over new restrictions and the Omicron variant, consumers flocked to prestige beauty retailers in the last week before Christmas. The impressive results reported in week 51 2021, compared to both 2020 and 2019, demonstrates the importance of prestige beauty to the Christmas gift giving period. Fragrance continues to lead the recovery and is one of the most in-demand gifts under the Christmas tree. These positive sales figures are very welcome news for retailers and brands alike.”