Timra Carlson

NEW YORK — NPD Beauty, the beauty tracking division of the NPD Group, now has the ability to provide data on makeup sales down to the shade level. The company added this service to its PowerView makeup database earlier this year....

NEW YORK — NPD Beauty, the beauty tracking division of the NPD Group, now has the ability to provide data on makeup sales down to the shade level. The company added this service to its PowerView makeup database earlier this year.

“NPD PowerView is a multidimensional data analysis tool wherein our clients have access to better gauge the [performance of the] entire prestige industry — makeup, skin care and fragrance — by creating and executing their own data inquiries,” said Timra Carlson, president of NPD Beauty. She explained that the enhancement allows subscribers to review sales volume for shades within each product, by brand as well as across products and brands. The service can also help customers manage shade portfolios based on consumer demand, identify which shades drive a product’s success, track trends over time and identify seasonal demand.

“Up until this point, the most granular level of information we reported was the product level,” said Carlson. “Hearing the needs of our clients to have more finite information, we created shade level reporting to meet their needs.”

And clients concur that it has done so.

“It’s a great service that NPD is providing,” said Beth Spruance, executive director of makeup marketing for Clinique. “It’s going to better analyze our business across the board, from identifying trends to ensuring that our consumer needs are met and helping us better understand our consumers’ shopping behaviors. Across the board, it’s a win for everybody. It’s the greatest level of detail they could possibly give us.”

For example, Spruance said, the shade level data helped Clinique determine if its customers’ foundation shade needs were being met, and it also allowed the brand to determine its bestselling shades. “We’re [also] taking a very serious look at seasonality with foundation,” she said. “A lot of women we talked to in focus groups actually have two or three foundations that they go back and forth between. The shade analysis is going to be able to help us really drill down and see how that shift happens.”

Elizabeth Park, senior vice president of makeup marketing for Lancôme, said that “so far it’s definitely been very helpful because it lets us look at different segments of the market. It helps us look at shades that are more appropriate for the mature market” as well as “compare shade sales to different target markets.”

This story first appeared in the July 16, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

You May Also Like

The shade level data became available in the first quarter of 2004 and was included in NPD Beauty’s March database, available to clients in April for the lip gloss, lip color, eye shadow, foundation and blush categories. The remainder of the categories that NPD Beauty tracks for makeup — mascara, eyeliner, eyebrow, powder, concealer and lip liner — were added in June. The shade level data is available only to clients who purchase a full makeup database subscription.

Carlson maintains that the advantage provided by this data is that it gives manufacturers the ability to see that shades are driving sales both on a seasonal level and as a whole. She noted that NPD Beauty is “always analyzing the information, keeping abreast of trends” and that though the data has been available for a limited amount of time “so far clients have been pleased.”

In other NPD news, the company has produced “Beyond Botox: Understanding the StriVectin-SD Consumer.” The report is currently available for purchase, and Timra Carlson will be speaking about it on the CBS Evening News tonight at 6:30 p.m.

— Kristin Finn