Sales of prestige brow products increase by 52%, reports NPD Group

The prestige beauty market for sales of brow products is driven by celebrity culture, according to the NPD Group, a global information company. Sales of brow products accounted for £6.5m in the period January to May 2014 reporting a rise of 52% on the same period in 2013.

In comparison, the next star performer in the make-up category is lip liner which grew by 27% and is followed by eye shadow which grew by 19% compared to the same period last year (YTD May 2014).

The celebrity factor
The trend for big brows continues to remain a big story – both on the catwalk and amongst models and celebrities. “Brows keep getting bigger,” said June Jensen, director, UK beauty for The NPD Group. “Power brows are now an essential make-up look. Early adopters of the trend were inevitably, the fashion set, but the look has now become main stream.”

Celebrity culture is driving growth in this category and the rise in the number of brow bars and specialist treatments like brow extensions, confirms that brows are now a firm part of the beauty ritual. “Cara Delevingne is the trend-setting brow icon of our age; she embodies the look and is the defining personality for the beauty press. However, a more exaggerated brow look has become prevalent on the high street, popularised by reality television stars from TOWIE and Geordie Shore,” according to Jensen.

The best-selling brands
The sale of brow products is booming and the best-selling brands in the category include specialist make-up ranges and prestige skincare houses with an established make-up line. In the YTD April 2014 the best-selling brands (in alphabetical order) were Benefit, Bobbi Brown, Clinique, Estee Lauder and MAC.

Brows with benefits
Benefit is the number one brand in the brow category, driving growth in the sector and reporting impressive results year on year. Benefit Brow zings and Instant Brow Pencil have been central to its success, but the launch of Gimme Brow, in January 2014 made a significant impact on the market. Gimme Brow has contributed to incremental growth for Benefit, which saw its market share in April 2014 increase by 10% compared to April 2013. Its continued success can also be attributed to a core focus on customers. According to Jensen, “In store services and the launch of brow bars are supporting the impressive results we have seen from Benefit.”

Eight out of 10 brows
Eight out of the top 10 selling brow products in 2013 were brow pencils. Aside from two brow powders, pencils dominate the top 10. Brow pencils remain a luxury purchase with average prices ranging from £12- £17 per product.

Top 10 Brow products

1.    Benefits Kits Eyebrow Brow zings
2.    Clinique Superfine Liner for Brows
3.    MAC Eyebrows
4.    Benefit Instant Brow Pencil
5.    Clinique Instant Lift for Brows
6.    Estee Lauder Automatic Eyebrow Pencil
7.    Lancôme Eyebrow Crayon
8.    Benefit Speed Brow
9.    Clarins Eyebrow Crayon
10. Dior Eyebrow Pencil

On counter
Existing product lines accounted for 32% of the growth in the brow market in YTD December 2013 compared to 2012. New launches declined in that period by 1.6%. Jensen said: “The growth from existing product lines suggests the power of customer loyalty and the success of in-store promotions, tutorials, and link selling with other eye products. Brands are capitalising on the power of celebrity culture focusing their marketing on their current portfolio of products.”

The growth of the brow market is not confined to the UK as a similar trend exists in the USA. In the YTD May 2014 the USA reported total sales of $57.6 million, in the UK it was £6.5m. The figures not only demonstrate the popularity of brow products in both countries, but show that growth in the UK is outstripping that in the USA, which is a more mature market. In the YTD May 2012, the USA reported growth of 17% on the same period of the previous year, whilst in the UK it was 41.3%. In 2013 the USA reported growth of 27%, in the UK it was 31% in the YTD May 2013. This year both markets have seen additional growth, with the USA increasing sales by 31% in the YTD May 2014, however, the UK has eclipsed this growth rate, doubling sales, with an increase of 52% over the same period last year.

Jensen said: “The sale of prestige brow products continues to grow on both sides of the Atlantic with double-digit growth year-on-year. Brands are capitalising on the obsession with celebrity culture. New product development is targeted and limited. Brands are using in-store promotions and cross-selling to ensure they maximise the insatiable appetite for brows. We predict that brows will continue to get even bigger.”