Small home appliances and prestige beauty were the top performing general merchandise industries of Holiday 2017, according to The NPD Group. The standout categories in each of the key general merchandise categories tracked tell the full story of Holiday 2017:

  • The women’s segment saw the largest dollar growth of all apparel this holiday season, driven by dresses, sweats/active bottoms, and outerwear.
  • Playset dolls and collectibles drove the most dollar gains in the toy industry this holiday season.

  • Consumer technology’s big winners were home automation, driven by security and monitoring, and smart entry, as well as stereo headphones, and mobile power.
  • The spending focus in athletic footwear was on sport leisure/sport lifestyle offerings.

  • Fragrance juices led dollar gains in prestige beauty, followed by makeup face products.
  • The season’s hot small home appliance performance was driven by sales of cookers (more specifically, multi-cookers), air fryers, specialty cleaning (robotic vacuums in particular), and oral care appliances.

  • The slime craze continues to put office supplies on the map beyond the back-to-school season, with big dollar sales growth in glues and adhesives.

Commenting on the NPD data was Jefferies LLC, which reported, “the second week in November was driven by fragrance sales, particularly fragrance gift sets. The third week of November was driven by strong sales in makeup and skin care sets. Lip gloss and false eyelashes were drivers in week three, as holiday party purchases ramped up. Beauty sales in the fourth week of November (including Black Friday) grew 17%, led by makeup, skin care and then fragrance. Sales of prestige beauty in the first week of December was driven by skin care sales. In total, Prestige Beauty’s stellar performance was driven by fragrance, followed by makeup.”

Jeffries concluded that it sees “clear evidence that we are moving out of a strong single category driven beauty cycle (2014-2016 strength in make-up) to a more diversified mix of drivers, which benefits the multi-brand retailers (ULTA) and prestige companies with portfolios of strong in-demand brands across sub-categories (EL).

Beyond category winners, the week that began on Christmas Eve and concluded on December 30 was also a season standout with a 15 percent increase over the same week in 2016 across the key general merchandise categories in NPD’s Holiday Shopping Bag, helping to secure an overall positive finish to the season. Almost every industry tracked saw growth during the ninth and final week of the season, with Toys, Small Home Appliances and Prestige Beauty leading the way.

“Despite consumers’ plans to get their holiday shopping done on the earlier side, the extra week and weekend of shopping brought out the procrastinators in many of us,” added Marshal Cohen, NPD’s Chief Industry Advisor. “The bigger picture shows that our shopping seasons are shifting, and traditional start and end-points are blurring more than ever. Part of this shift will make it important for retail to keep an eye on the growing importance of January as part of their peak selling season.”

For full year 2017 beauty market performance and insights, be sure to attend CEW’s upcoming Year in Review and 2018 forecast featuring NPD, Nielsen and Mintel. To purchase tickets, please click here.