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Last minute dash to the beauty counter expected in the nine shopping days before Christmas

Sales of prestige beauty products were up 2.5% year-on-year this November according to a new study. However, sales of fragrances were flat while sales of gift sets for women experienced a decline.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Last minute dash to the beauty counter expected in the nine shopping days before Christmas

Sales of prestige beauty products were up 2.5% year-on-year this November according to a new study. However, sales of fragrances were flat while sales of gift sets for women experienced a decline.

The figures released global information company The NPD Group show that a small value growth of 0.1% for fragrance, the most important category for the prestige beauty sector, had been maintained by price increases as unit sales declined by 3%. Women’s gift set sales fell by 4% in the month although men’s gift sets grew by 6.8%. The NPD Group has attributed the month’s sluggish sales performance to men in particular waiting until the last minute to dash to the beauty counter and stock up on prestige beauty items.

June Jensen, director for The NPD Group Beauty UK, explained: “This is the busiest time of year for the prestige beauty sector, and so far sales of fragrance and women’s gift sets have been slow. However with nine more shopping days until Christmas, there is plenty of time for the last minute dash to the beauty counter for presents of prestige fragrance and gift sets. Based on the latest fragrance value sales figures for the first week of December, which are up 7%, we predict that in these last few shopping days before 25 December, the shortfall in sales of fragrance and women’s beauty gift sets we’ve seen in November will be more than compensated.”

Meanwhile prestige beauty products in the lower price range performed well year-on-year with make-up seeing a 7.7% rise in value and a 6.2% increase in units sold. The NPD Group said the growth was mainly driven by strong sales of eye shadow, lip liner and bronzer.

Prestige skincare also grew with value sales up 4.5% in November, predominantly driven by purchases of Christmas gift sets. Gift sets account for 27% of all annual prestige skincare sales and so far the sector has seen growth of 13.3% compared to this time last year.

Jensen added: “Consumers are increasingly shopping online for their beauty purchases. The beauty category has been slow to embrace online shopping, primarily because people like to try before they buy so the beauty counter plays an essential part in the sales process. However, with the rise of beauty blogs and word-of-mouth recommendations being amplified through social media, as well as enhanced flexibility when shopping online (e.g. Click & Collect), we are seeing online sales growing at +8.7% of beauty sales this November, compared to +7.4% in November 2012 – a growth of +21% year on year.”

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