By  on August 18, 2011

The NPD Group released its first-half report Thursday, revealing growth in total prestige skin care and makeup dollar sales in U.S. department stores, a figure that exceeds prerecession sales figures from 2008. Increases were present in all categories of prestige makeup — namely lip and eye products — as well as a whopping 65 percent rise in the nail category since 2008. In total, prestige makeup sales jumped almost 4 percent.

“We are seeing a very different trend right now,” said Karen Grant, NPD’s vice president and senior global industry analyst. “People are spending money in spite of the recession. It’s like the Hollywood effect during the Great Depression.”

As far as prestige skin care, every category, except for body, contributed to bringing it back to prerecessionary levels.

Women’s and men’s skin care dollar sales increased 14 and 9 percent, respectively, compared to the first half of 2008.

Skin care sets and kits increased 56 percent, compared to 2008, accounting for the highest dollar growth among all the segments for the past three semiannual periods.

“The gap between consumer confidence levels and prestige beauty sales has gotten wider and wider,” said Grant, who added that, as confidence waivers, it seems the beauty category is a source of “comfort.”

Although the prestige fragrance category has not moved to prerecessionary levels, NPD reports it is gaining traction. In fact, compared to first-half 2010, women’s and men’s prestige fragrance sales have increased by 14 percent and 8 percent, respectively, accounting for a 10 percent dollar growth in the total prestige fragrance category.

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