Eye makeup is raising brows, according to The NPD Group Inc.

Eyebrow makeup sales increased 28 percent within the total U.S. prestige eye category in the 12 months ended in March, a sharp contrast to the total U.S. prestige makeup market’s 3 percent growth during the same period.

Currently, sales of prestige eyebrow products have increased by double digits in the past three years. The eyebrow category generates $122 million annually, amounting to 11 percent of total U.S. prestige eye makeup sales.

Meanwhile, less than 80 percent of prestige retail stores are currently selling brow makeup.

“Further investigation into NPD’s geo-level information uncovers regional opportunities for increased distribution and growth in brow makeup, particularly in southern markets within the U.S.,” said Karen Grant, vice president and global beauty industry analyst at NPD.

To that end, the West is the largest region in terms of U.S. prestige eyebrow makeup sales with a 33 percent dollar share. However, there is opportunity for growth in the South, where  only 70 percent of beauty stores are selling eyebrow products, Grant noted.


Among the top 10 cities in the U.S. selling prestige eyebrow makeup, Grant singled out Houston as an area of opportunity. In Houston, 57 percent of stores sold eyebrow makeup in the 12 months ending in March. These stores experienced a 23 percent growth in dollar sales due in part to a 5 percentage point increase in the number of stores selling those products.

“While MAC and Clinique are among the top sellers, it is the niche brand Anastasia Cosmetics that ranks number one in three of the four U.S. regions, and Benefit Cosmetics that ranks among the top three brands in the West,” said Grant. “Despite differing geographic market dynamics, the right brand distribution will help influence purchase behavior, and ultimately drive sales.”