Byline: Cassandra Chiacchio

NEW YORK — In tune with a lethargic economy, NPD BeautyTrends has reported that U.S. department store beauty sales rose a mere 1.8 percent in 2001 compared with the 5 percent increase the category experienced in 2000. “It was a tough year and a tough December,” said Mark Brooks, skin care manager at NPD BeautyTrends. “Makeup really carried the business in 2001.”
According to NPD, new product launches — making up 4 percent of total prestige beauty sales — contributed to the soft increase in a “disappointing” year.
“New launches impacted the fragrance segment the most, followed by skin care and then makeup,” said Timra Carlson, vice president of NPD BeautyTrends, in a statement. She noted that these new launches — defined by NPD as products in full distribution for less than one year — were marketed to a wide variety of age and ethnic groups in order to expand the consumer base.
Fragrance, including men’s and women’s, was down 2 percent compared with 2000, when it was up 4 percent over 1999. “[Fragrance] was really dependent on gifting,” said Brooks. “We saw fragrance, indeed, all of beauty, start to decline as early as June. Sept. 11 just secured the position for decline.”
Not that there weren’t a few bright spots. According to NPD, new launches in the women’s fragrance category — many of which were “rich florals” — represented 10 percent of women’s fragrance sales in 2001. Based on the first three months of sales, Lancome’s Miracle and Estee Lauder’s Intuition were ranked first and second, respectively, among women’s fragrance launches.
In the men’s fragrance category, new launches — many of them spicy — represented 6 percent of men’s fragrance sales for 2001. Again based on the first three months of sales, T For Him by Tommy Hilfiger and Christian Dior’s Higher ranked first and second, respectively, among men’s fragrance launches in 2001.
Another bright spot was prestige makeup, which, as a whole, was up 6.5 percent in 2001, compared with a 6 percent rise in 2000. New products, with a concentration on eye and lip, contributed 7 percent of the total prestige makeup business. Mascara, a key element in the eye category, had several new launches in 2001. A heavy hitter was the June launch of Lancome’s Amplicils Mascara, which ranked fifth among all mascara products for 2001, according to Dianne Barber, makeup manager at NPD BeautyTrends. In the lip category, NPD ranked Clinique’s Moisture Surge Lipstick as the number one lip product introduction in 2001.
Skin care was up 3.5 percent in 2001, compared with a 6 percent increase in 2000. New launches in this category contributed to 9 percent of total skin care sales. “There was a slight decline in the proportion of skin care launches,” said Brooks, noting that many of the new launches featured new natural ingredient combinations and technological innovations. Age specialist products — which represented one-third of total prestige skin care sales in 2001 — were the big sellers in the skin care category, said Brooks. Lancome’s Absolue and Clinique’s Total Turnaround Creme were deemed the most successful new product launches in prestige skin care. “They did equally well,” said Brooks.

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