NEW YORK — Retailers looking to offset declines in nail color sales can look to lips, a category gaining usage even in younger consumers.

This story first appeared in the December 27, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Women, especially Millennials who once eschewed vibrant lipsticks, are grabbing more lip products, prompting double-digit sales gains over last year, according to statistics gathered by The NPD Group Inc.

“In the U.S., lips are keeping in step with the nail color trend this year. Consumers are responding to the new options and innovations in beauty, and what better way than with some bold lips that make a statement,” said Karen Grant, vice president and senior global industry analyst, The NPD Group Inc.

NYC New York Color plans to capitalize on the rush to lip colors. “Lip really is the new nail,” said Laura Weinstein, vice president marketing Sally Hansen and NYC New York Color, during the debut of several 2014 NYC New York Color products. NYC, in fact, has a focus on lip with two major introductions — Expert Last Lip Color and City Proof Twistable Intense Lip Color. Weinstein said NYC continues to “translate prestige” trends at mass.

Expert Last is a long-wearing lipstick with high-impact color in 16 shades priced at $1.99. City Proof Twistable Intense Lip Color features velvety long-wearing color in a chubby stick form. Twelve colors are priced at $2.99.

Beyond lip, NYC showed two new mascaras, as well as new pencil eyeliners. The mascaras are Big Bold Volume by the Lash and City Proof Buildable Mascara. Realizing that despite a multitude of colors, women predominately buy black eye liners, NYC has introduced its Showtime Velvet Eyeliner Pencils in several shades of black.

Weinstein, who recently added more responsibilities for the Sally Hansen brand, was quick to add the Coty-owned franchise has ammunition to rev up nail. “Don’t say goodbye to nail,” she said, teasing about new product development in Sally Hansen for 2014. In the meantime, the value pricing of NYC is driving sales gains just under 6 percent, outpacing overall category sales growth of 2.6 percent, for the most recent 52-week period, said Weinstein.