During the pandemic the eyes had it, what with face masks and all. But consumers are reaching for lip balm, lip gloss, and lip oil more than ever.
Circana released nine-month U.S. beauty industry sales Tuesday morning, revealing that within the prestige channel, makeup was the fastest-growing category. While all segments within face makeup grew, eye makeup sales experienced the softest growth. Lip makeup is being driven by oils, balms, and lip gloss, all of which grew faster than lipstick.
Overall, U.S. prestige beauty industry sales grew by 14% for the nine-month period ending September 30 compared to the same period in 2022. Mass-market beauty sales experienced a year-over-year increase of 8%, said the firm formerly known as IRI and The NPD Group.
According to Checkout, Circana’s receipt-based tracking service, spend per buyer on makeup increased by 10% this year, while purchase frequency rose by 4%.
Skin care was the fastest-growing category based on units sold in the prestige market. It was also the only category whose average price remained flat, while average price across other categories, such as makeup, hair, and fragrance, increased. Looking at specific skin care segments, face serum, which grew 21% based on dollar sales, and face cream, which increased 12%, were two of the most significant growth contributors. Body skin care continued to outpace the overall category.
“Value” continues to be a buzzword for fragrance purchases. Consumers are increasingly finding value in lower-priced prestige fragrance products amid a slowdown in demand for high-premium luxury brands, contributing to the softer increases in average selling prices this year. Fragrance sets, which typically offer more value for the price, increased more than double the rate of juices. Meanwhile, the demand for luxury brands within the prestige market has slowed, with units sold up 1% this year.
Demand for hair products continues on the prestige side of the business as sales grew at a double-digit pace across most of the hair care and styling segments. In mass, the number of units sold has been a “mixed bag.”
“We expect the resiliency of the beauty industry to extend through the last quarter of the year,” said Larissa Jensen, Global Beauty Industry Advisor at Circana. “This holiday season, we anticipate growth for the prestige beauty market, despite the consumer pullback we are seeing in other general merchandise industries. But as consumer spending power is squeezed, they will make choices that reflect what is important to them. Beauty brands that effectively tap into this emotional connection will be in a position to succeed this holiday season.”