Star performing prestige make-up products boost slow market recovery with double digit growth in the first half of 2021, reports The NPD Group

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Sales of prestige mascara, brow products, tinted moisturiser and setting spray reported double digit growth in the first half of 2021, boosting the challenged make-up sector, according to The NPD Group. The total UK prestige make-up market was valued at £200 million in the first half of 2021, a decline of 4% on the same period in 2020 and a decrease of 48% compared to the same period in 2019.

Makeup has been the slowest category to recover in prestige beauty due to changes in work patterns and social behaviour, plus the continued practice of wearing face masks. To add to the challenges, bricks and mortar stores were closed until April 2021. Testers on counters in stores have only recently been reintroduced and there has also been a shift to online retail. Bricks and mortar sales declined 66% in the first half of 2021 compared to 2019. Online sales increased 15% in the same period compared to 2019, however these gains do not compensate for the losses in bricks and mortar.

Stellar performers leading the recovery
While all make-up categories have faced challenges, targeted products have shown signs of recovery compared to 2020, but still have some ground to cover when compared to 2019. Mascara, tinted moisturiser, eye brow products, setting spray and lip gloss have performed well with the first three reporting double digit growth in the first half of 2021, compared to the same period in 2020.

The mask-ara effect
Sales of prestige mascara sales increased 20% in the first half of 2021, compared to the same period in 2020. Consumers streamlined their make-up bags post pandemic, putting more emphasis on products that focus on the eye area. In the first half of 2021, mascara accounted for 43% of all eye make-up volume sales compared to 36% of make-up volume sales in the first half of 2019.

Innovation and existing lines are driving the gains. While there were less new mascara launches in 2021 (30) compared to 2020 (36) the launches have had a greater impact on the market. Benefit, Lancôme, and Charlotte Tilbury all launched full size mascaras with a separate travel size option (encouraging trial or an additional product for travel/handbag).

Tinted Moisturiser
In line with the trend for the natural look, Tinted Moisturisers have seen a resurgence, with sales increasing 19% in the first half of 2021, compared to the same period in 2020. 94% of Tinted Moisturisers have SPF in the formulation, which aligns with the increasing demand for make-up products that include skincare benefits. 8 of the top 10 face make-up launches in the first half of 2021 included skincare benefits which feature moisturising/hydrating benefits or specific ingredients such as Hyaluronic Acid.

Emma Fishwick, account manager, NPD UK Beauty, explains: “The make-up market has changed dramatically since the pandemic. How and how often people wear makeup has also changed. Many people continue to work from home (or in a hybrid model) people are socialising less and as a result the natural look has become more popular. Combine this with continued mask wearing, the absence of defined trends like strobing and contouring and consumer reluctance to spend (compared to pre-pandemic) make-up sales have naturally been affected.”