Nails Remain Sharp in Prestige Beauty

Posted on August 9, 2012 @ 09:17 am

There seems to be no end to nail growth, with new launches almost daily. And the marketing ingenuity is apparently paying off, with nail care sales leading all categories of prestige beauty. According to market research from The NPD Group, Inc., prestige makeup sales within U.S. department stores for the first half of 2012 (January through June) grew +8% to $1.8 billion. Unit sales were up +4% to 74 million. All makeup segments experienced growth in the first half of the year. Some of the biggest winners producing double-digit dollar growth were the segments of Nail and Sets, and sub-segments, Eye Brow, Eye Liner, and Lip Color.

While Nail continues to be the smallest segment, it experienced the largest growth of all segments at +68% in first half 2012. All the sub-segments of Nail grew: Color Enamel (+70%), Nail Care (+36%), and Base/Top Coats (over +100%).

“Not a surprise that the Nail Segment takes the lead once again,” said Karen Grant, vice president and senior global industry analyst, The NPD Group—and a member of Beauty Packaging's Board of Advisors. “Fun shades and colors like neons and metallics, along with funky textures and decals, have added to this growing trend.”

Makeup set sales, products comprised of more than one palette, saw an increase in dollars and units for first half 2012. The segment brought in $61 million, +19% more than what it performed a year ago. Over 1.6 million sets were purchased in the first half of 2012. The top two sets came from Urban Decay and were Naked2 Palette Set 2011 and Naked Palette Set 2011.

The Lip segment kept pace with overall prestige makeup growth at +8%. Lip, the third largest makeup segment, brought in nearly $305 million in first half of this year. The sub-segments that outpaced the segment were: Lip color (+10%), All Other Lip (multi-functional lip products, lip moisturizer, etc.;+54%), and Lip Applicator (+9%). Lip Gloss and Lip Liner both increased a modest +3%. The top three best selling lipstick performers during the period reported by NPD were MAC Lipstick, Lancome L’Absolu Rouge and Lauder Pure Color Lipstick.

Eye which accounts for 28% of makeup sales, experienced increases for first half of 2012. The segment saw gains of 5% in dollar sales, generating over $512 million. Mascara (+6%), Eye Liner (+11%), and Eye Brow (+17%) were those sub-segments that showed growth. All Other Eye declined by -8% and Eye Applicator was flat.

Lastly, Face, the largest segment contributing 49% of makeup dollar sales increased +7% in dollars from last year. Almost 30 million face products were sold in department stores in the first half of 2012 for $891 million. All of the sub-segments of Face showed growth: Foundation (+7%), Blush (+7%), Concealer (+7%), Powder (+9%), All Other Face (multi-functional face products, face primer, etc.; +14%), and Face Applicator (+6%).

“The trends in prestige makeup for the first half of 2012 are quite telling especially when you take a close look at those categories in Nail, Lip and Eye, they exceed sales in the overall market. Consumers continue their desire to play with color, and accentuate and define their eyes. Underlying these trends is one consistent element—they have the lowest price points in the prestige market place,” said Grant.

According to NPD, the nail and eye categories are all under the average price of prestige makeup. Products like eye pallete sets that offer 12 shades, equate to less than $5 per shade.

“In prestige makeup, the choices driving trend continue to indicate very calculated investments,” said Grant.