Premiumization among beauty’s top categories is driving strong growth in beauty, according to The NPD Group. For the second quarter of 2022, U.S. prestige beauty industry sales reached $6 billion, a 16 percent increase versus last year, NPD said.

“Premiumization is happening among the three categories performing the best; while fragrance and hair’s average prices are up due to consumer spending on higher-priced, luxury items, makeup — which has traditionally been one of the most promotional beauty categories — is experiencing a pricing rise due to fewer promotions,” said Larissa Jensen, Beauty Industry Advisor, NPD.

Larissa added that beauty is the only industry with rising unit sales year to date across 14 discretionary retail industries tracked by NPD in the U.S., “a testament to its resilience considering the beauty industry reverted to 2015 sales levels in 2020.”

Performance by category was varied during the April to June period. In makeup, unit sales surpassed pre-pandemic unit sales by 1 percent versus the same period in 2019. Revenue continued to be lower than pre-pandemic 2019 levels. Lipstick sales increased 28 percent. From January to June, lip products were the fastest-growing makeup segment and experienced softer declines than the rest of the makeup category compared to pre-pandemic 2019. Overall, makeup sales grew 18 percent to $2 billion during the quarter.

Fragrance saw price increases with average prices increasing by 6 percent over the prior year, double the rate of the rest of the beauty industry. Sales of fragrance grew 13 percent to $1.5 billion from April to June.

“While inflation plays a role, the elevated pricing for fragrances is also about an increase in purchasing higher-priced product,” said Larissa. Strong sales of fragrance gift sets during Mother’s Day and Father’s Day 2022 could indicate a trend for the holiday season ahead.

Body care is becoming a larger focus in skin care, and sales of the category continue to outpace facial skin care. “Skin care brands are upping the ante by using ingredients such as vitamin C, retinol, and algae that are traditionally found in facial products,” said Larissa. Sunscreen sales grew 51 percent. Overall skin care sales rose 12 percent to $1.7 billion during the quarter.

Hair care continues to be the smallest yet fastest-growing category in beauty with second-quarter growth clocking in at 24 percent to $781 million. During the quarter sales grew across almost all segments including hair care, styling, and color. In the first half of the year, clean hair brands comprised almost one-quarter of the hair category universe, which is a five-point gain from the same period last year.