Prestige beauty sales rise

Prestige beauty sales reached in the US reached a staggering $4.1 billion in the first quarter of this year, according to the NPD Group.

However the total sales figure (which included sales in the makeup, skincare, fragrance and hair categories) was just one percent higher than in the same quarter in 2018.

Skincare sales grew 5 percent to reach $1.4 billion, hair sales grew 14 percent to reach $175.8 million, and fragrance sales grew 4 percent to reach $748.2 million in the same period while makeup sales dropped by 4 percent to $1.8 billion.

The NPD Group beauty industry analyst Larissa Jensen said “the big story” behind the positive sales figures is the “growth in beauty, and in each category, is softer compared to Q1 of 2018”.

“Despite the slowdown, there remain pockets of growth and opportunities, even in a declining category like makeup,” she said.

“Identifying and winning in those areas will lead to success.”

Jensen added that “much of the growth” that occurred in the first quarter should continue through at least the first half of the year “even as overall performance softens”.

“While some challenges may lie ahead, 2019 remains an exciting time for our industry,” she said.

“Listening to the consumer, maintaining a pulse on category trends, being open to change and adjusting in real time is what will drive success in today’s fast-paced environment.”

Other key findings in NPD’s US Prestige Beauty Total Measured Market (Jan-March 2019 vs. 2018) report included:


  • Setting spray (+19 percent) and tinted moisturiser (+11 percent) were the fastest growing segments within face makeup.
  • Lip colour sales declined by 8 percent, while lip gloss grew by 4 percent.
  • Eyebrow makeup (+6 percent) and false eyelashes (+18 percent) continued their positive trend within eye makeup.


  • Both the men’s and women’s skincare markets grew by 5 percent.
  • Natural brands accounted for 27 percent of Q1 skincare sales and collectively grew by 8 percent.
  • Sunscreen sales grew by 22 percent in Q1 while self-tanner sales by 20 percent.


  • Fragrance juice sales grew by 4 percent for women and 6 percent for men.
  • Fragrance gift sets grew by 5 percent – an acceleration of growth compared to Q1 2018.


  • Hair care is the largest segment within the hair market, and Q1 sales grew across all areas (including daily rinse shampoo and conditioner, dry shampoo, masks, and other hair care).
  • Hair styling product sales grew by 6 percent, with hair gel seeing the fastest growth at 26 percent.
  • Hair colour sales were flat for the quarter.


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