CEW Global Trends Report reveals data behind the advancing prestige cosmetics business

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

Don Unser (from left to right), Karen Grant, and Andy Mantis of The NPD Group
Don Unser (from left to right), Karen Grant, and Andy Mantis of The NPD Group

Related tags Npd group Cosmetics

The event, held at the Harmonie Club on New York City’s Upper East Side last week, reviewed beauty industry sales, trends, and more from 2015 and forecast 2016, using facts and figures from both Nielsen and NPD. 

Karen Grant, VP and global beauty industry analyst for The NPD Group, spoke at the event, as did Don Unser who works with the group’s panel of retailer partners and Andy Mantis who leads the firm’s Checkout Tracking service.

These experts from The NPD Group presented highlights from the firm’s Beauty Industry in Review report and shared insight on what lies ahead for 2016. “We are delighted to have collaborated with The NPD Group again to present this critical beauty industry intel,” ​says Carlotta Jacobson, president of CEW, about the Global Trends Report event sponsored this time around by MANE, 24 Seven, Nielsen, Mintel, Beauty Inc, WWD and Kaplow Communications.

Relevant retail trends

Starting off on a realistic note, Unser conceded, “I don't know that the consumer will ever be back where they were pre-recession.” ​But not to worry, looking at annual consumer spend prestige beauty is the fastest growing industry that we track or that Nielsen tracks,” ​he said.

Reflecting on the overall retail climate and the unique position that cosmetics and personal care companies occupy, Unser pointed to online sales as a real opportunity: "I think you all [in the prestige beauty business] are in the early stages of the e-commerce piece."

“In the age when everything is available to consumers,” ​with big online marketplaces like Amazon in the mix, Unser believes that “there's a real opportunity for you all to curate…. Consumers need to have things recommended to them.”

Category distortions

Karen Grant, VP and global beauty industry analyst for The NPD Group, explains that retail trends, shifting consumer expectations, and brand innovations are “blurring the lines between what is mass and what is prestige."

And she emphasizes that many long-held industry truths are evolving. For instance, “for the first time in 2015, the fragrance category outperformed skincare. Fragrance dollars grew by 4%, and skincare by 3%,” ​Grant reports.

“Fragrance sales are dynamic in core components like juices, and the market for home ancillaries is growing.”

Beauty is moving very quickly, says Grant. “The trends in beauty are more diverse and moving faster than ever, as are the consumers.”

Grant also highlighted the prevalence of artist and alternative brands among notable makeup launches last year—Urban Decay’s Naked Smokey Eye Shadow and Anastasia Contour Cream Kit New Light, for example. The NPD Group included only one designer brand on its list of notable launches and was more impressed by shade innovations in the color category.

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