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The NPD Group: Prestige Beauty Grew 15 Percent in Q3

Makeup sales surpassed pre-pandemic levels during the third quarter, with lip makeup taking hold as the fastest-growing segment.

Prestige beauty sales continue to rise, even as the threat of a potential global recession looms.

According to data from The NPD Group, prestige beauty sales in the U.S. grew to $6 billion in the third quarter, a 15 percent increase versus 2021’s third quarter.

“Unit sales and revenue are both growing by double digits for beauty products sold in the prestige market, indicating that consumers are indulging in beauty products this year,” said Larissa Jensen, beauty industry adviser, The NPD Group, in a statement.

NPD reports that makeup sales officially surpassed pre-pandemic 2019 levels during the third quarter, posting $2.1 billion in total sales, with lip makeup ruling as the fastest-growing segment for the quarter, growing 32 percent.

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Despite having the lowest total sales volume at $853.8 million, hair care products saw the most growth in the third quarter, increasing 23 percent versus 2021’s third quarter, while items with restorative and strengthening claims outpaced overall category growth.

Skin care sales swelled 14 percent versus 2021’s third quarter, to $1.7 billion, which was largely driven by clinical brands, followed by natural brands.

While brick-and-mortar skin care sales saw the most growth, NPD reports online sales still account for 40 percent of sales, except when it comes to hair care, which has a nearly even channel split between online and in-store revenue.

Bringing in $1.3 billion in sales in the third quarter, fragrance saw an 11 percent increase versus the same period last year, with brick-and-mortar revenue commanding more than three-quarters of U.S. sales in the category.

While continued, steady demand for fragrance is one growth driver, average prices for fragrance have risen amid inflation more quickly than those of any other category, also fueling the category’s climbing performance.

Jensen said she forecasts cross-category performance to remain unfettered by macroeconomic pressures through the holidays, a testament to Leonard A. Lauder’s “lipstick index,” which speculates that cosmetic sales rise during times of economic hardship as consumers look to affordable indulgences.