In the second quarter of 2020, sales of U.S. prestige beauty products fell to $2.8 billion, a 36 percent decline in sales over Q2 2019, according to The NPD Group. Notably, consumers are turning online, where sales have grown by 90 percent, representing about 61 percent of industry sales volume. The online channel’s market share soared to 70 percent.

Although all categories experienced a decline in total dollar sales, there were still some areas in beauty that stood out as a result of the pandemic. In makeup, for example, with protective face mask requirements, the focus has shifted to eyes. Post-lockdown (May and June), the average week-over-week growth for eye makeup was 6 percent, driven by products including false eyelashes, mascara, eyebrow makeup and eye liner. Overall, makeup sales for the quarter were down 52 percent, while online sales for the category are up 79 percent.

While total fragrance sales are down 37 percent, the category’s online only sales are up 104 percent. Looking at week-over-week sales, fragrance picked up in May and June, driven by key holidays. The week of Mother’s Day, women’s fragrances grew by 96 percent over the prior week. During the week of Father’s Day over the previous week, men’s fragrance sales increased 117 percent, and the increasing popularity of higher concentration formats, such as parfums and eau de parfums, continued.

As a result of consumer’s growing interest in self-care, the winning areas of the market have helped to create a spa atmosphere at home. Specifically, consumers have been prioritizing skin care and hair care, both of which have experienced softer declines and faster rebounds as compared to makeup and fragrance. Hair care is down 10 percent, while online sales for the category are up 95 percent with increased demand seen for hair masks and other hair treatments (+30 percent), nail care (+29 percent), body and facial devices (+16 percent), body exfoliators (+15 percent), candles (+13 percent), and home ancillary gift sets (+88 percent). Skin care saw its online sales spike to 93 percent, while total dollar sales fell by 18 percent.

The future of beauty sales in today’s COVID-19 world is not grim. According to findings from NPD’s Future Of Report, more than half of beauty shoppers in the U.S. intend to purchase beauty products in the next month – a rate that is higher than apparel, footwear, sporting goods, accessories, and watches. In addition, beauty shoppers have remained more optimistic about the future than the average consumer.

“Many bright spots remain despite the continued struggle in prestige beauty, which has been one of the hardest hit industries in 2020,” said Larissa Jensen, Beauty Industry Advisor, The NPD Group. “While online sales have been strong, the success of brick and mortar remains a key factor in the industry’s recovery. As we enter the second half of the year, this channel dynamic is one to watch closely. Agility will be important in developing a winning strategy for holiday, which may look very different this year.”