Spending on cosmetics is picking up again, says NPD

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

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A snapshot report from NPD on reactions to the economy among beauty consumers suggests that women are willing to spend more on cosmetics again.

Women in the US have been cutting back on their beauty spending, but the NPD survey suggests that they are ready to return to the cosmetics shelves.

NPD came to the conclusion by studying the results of a beauty shopper survey it carried out in April and comparing it to an earlier survey conducted in November last year.

Early signs of a spending recovery

In the April survey, 55 percent of shoppers said they will still buy cosmetics because it makes them feel better about themselves. This is up four percent on November.

Also, fewer women are reporting that cosmetics are at the top of their list of products to cut back on. In April, only 42 percent of respondents said they were willing to rein in their beauty spending, as opposed to 45 percent in November.

Impulse buying also looks to be making a comeback. NPD said more women in the latest survey indicated that they were likely to go to spas and salons on a regular basis and buy beauty products on impulse.

“It is very encouraging to see the overall positive shift among beauty shoppers. That tells us that, while we are not out of the woods yet, the greater proportion of beauty consumers are willing to explore spending again,”​ said Karen Grant, NPD senior global industry analyst and vice president of Beauty.

African American women continue to cut back

Despite the good overall news, not all beauty shoppers were planning to increase their spending. In particular, African American women are more downcast about their spending.

Only 22 percent of African American respondents agreed with the statement “Even in these tough economic times, I still find myself buying beauty products on impulse”.

This figure was down 6 percent on November. Meanwhile, there was a two percentage point overall increase in the number of women saying they would buy beauty products on impulse.

“The decline among African American women may be very closely tied to the fact that women in this segment of the population are also the least likely to use makeup and skincare products,”​ said Grant.

“In general, this group often has a harder time finding beauty products that meet their needs. Now add in tough times and they may be even more inclined to see beauty as a non-essential. Shifting this perception is one that marketers will need to look at and help turn sentiments of African Americans to be more in line with other beauty consumers.”

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