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Prestige Beauty Sales Jumped 25 Percent in Q3, According to NPD Group

Fragrance and hair care are growing equally quickly, while makeup remains the market's largest category.

Beauty is proving its buoyancy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to data from The NPD Group, prestige beauty grew 25 percent in the third quarter of 2021. Makeup grew 24 percent to $1.7 billion, while skin care posted 14 percent gains to $1.4 billion. Fragrance and hair care each grew 36 percent to $1.1 billion and $619.4 million, respectively.

Makeup’s revival was to be expected, said Larissa Jensen, vice president of beauty at The NPD Group. “Makeup was hit particularly hard, so the fact that it’s growing faster than skin care is just mechanical,” Jensen said. “Makeup has always been the biggest category, even in the midst of all of the behavioral changes in terms of consumer spend in beauty. Last year, it lost market share to hair care, skin care and fragrance, but it’s still bigger.”

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Among popular categories are blush and bronzers, highlighters, tinted moisturizers, lipsticks and lip glosses, all of which posted double-digit growth.

Skin care “has been very volatile, if you look at the performance throughout the weeks, whereas makeup is more slow and steady,” Jensen added, calling out the growth in body care, attributed to body cleansers, creams, exfoliators and oils. For facial skin care, lip and eye treatments, as well as serums, also grew.

In fragrance, concentrated formats such as eau de parfums and perfumes drove much of the growth. Juice sales swelled almost 50 percent, and the category is 38 percent bigger than pre-pandemic levels.

The fastest-growing segment of hair care was hair masks for the quarter, although sprays and gels led the ascent of styling products.

“Fragrance and hair are neck-and-neck. We’re actually forecasting them to end the year performing almost identical to each other,” Jensen added.

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