Data proves US prestige market to be hard hit by downturn

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Skin care segment, Skin

The US prestige beauty market shrank by 7 per cent in the first half of 2009, to register the 11th consecutive month of negative growth.

The market recorded sales of $3.7bn in the first half of the year, with fragrance, skin care and make-up all registering significant falls, according to latest research data from the NPD Group.

“The results in first half 2009 are in many ways a continuation, and perhaps, an escalation of the trends we have been seeing since the start of the 2008 recessionary period,”​ said Karen Grant, NPD Vice President and global industry analyst.

Fragrance sales were hardest hit, falling 10 percent compared to sales in the first half of 2008, to reach $1.0bn, with both men’s and women’s fragrances registering the same 10 percent decline.

Skin care sales come off lightly

In the largest category, make-up, sales for the period were down 7 percent to $1.5bn, whereas sales for the skin care segment were down by the smallest amount, at 6 percent.

Although the overall picture looks gloomy, the NPD figures also revealed that in each category there were some positive figures, highlighting the fact that some opportunities still exist.

In the fragrance category, new launches were down by 17 percent overall, mainly attributable to less activity in the female segment, which saw 31 percent fewer launches.

Men's fragrance launches jump

However, there was more positive data for the men’s category, where the number of launches actually rose significantly, registering a 23 percent increase in activity.

In the skin care segment the sets and kits segment showed a positive trend, with sales rising by 8 percent during the period, however all other categories saw sales fall.

New launch dollar volume declined by 4 percent in this category, but the data also revealed that there was an increase in new facial moisturizer sales.

Even lipstick takes a bash

In the make-up category all segments posted declines in sales of between 3 and 20 percent. Even lipstick, often held up as the recession-proof product, registered a dip.

However, new launches in a number of segments did show an upturn, with foundation and blusher both registering more than double digit increases in new sales.

“In this challenging retail environment, it can not be overstated how increasingly important it is for manufacturers and retailers to take careful note that there are items that are resonating well with consumers,”​ said Grant.

“They need to understand what those products are and see how they can potentially leverage that learning into winning with other beauty categories.”

Related topics: Business & Financial

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