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NPD Q3 Numbers Show Signs of U.S. Prestige Beauty Recovery

Hair and fragrance grew year-over-year, while skin care showed softer declines than the second quarter of 2020.

U.S. prestige beauty sales are showing smaller declines than earlier in 2020, new data from The NPD Group shows.

The NPD Group published its findings for the third quarter in the U. S. prestige beauty market, and it shows signs of recovery. Overall sales are down 17 percent to $3.7 billion, a smaller fall than the 36 percent drop in the second quarter of this year.

Hair showed the most traction at 11 percent for the quarter, with sales at $232.5 million. It is also the smallest of the four categories The NPD Group included in its findings. Hair masks, hair treatments and hair color gained the most traction among consumers.

Fragrance also rebounded, showing 1 percent growth from last year, with sales at $826.2 million. Home scents played a hand in the increase, which grew 21 percent, largely bolstered by candle sales.

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Skin care fell 11 percent from last year despite being one of the largest-selling categories this quarter, with sales totaling $1.3 billion, which is up from the $1.1 billion the category did in the previous quarter. Hand soap grew 134 percent. Body products, with an emphasis on exfoliators, cleansers and lotions. Body exfoliators grew 48 percent, while facial exfoliators grew 15 percent.

Color cosmetics, which still make up the largest category of the market, saw a steep drop of 31 percent to $1.4 billion in sales. In the second quarter of 2020, the category did a mere $869 million. Every segment of the category tumbled when compared to last year, with nail products being the exception, having grown 13 percent.

“We are seeing two stories unfold for beauty — one of stagnation and the other of recovery. Though it remains a powerful force in the industry, the needle has yet to move in a positive direction for makeup, as 70 percent of consumers scaled back their usage of the category this year,” said Larissa Jensen, vice president of beauty at The NPD Group, in a statement. “Alternately, the shifting consumer priorities toward self-care and treating themselves to little luxuries has helped both skin care and fragrance to enter a phase of recovery.”

The NPD Group included findings from its recent holiday report, which expects consumers to spend an average $691 on the season. Consumers planning to shop online rose from last year’s 41 percent to 48 percent, and free shipping was listed as the first priority for consumers when choosing what and where to buy, taking the lead over sale prices.

For more from, see:

Beauty Predictions for the New Decade, From the NPD Group

Estée Lauder Sales Dip From Coronavirus Retail Closures, Lower Foot Traffic 

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