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Nov 15, 2021
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Prestige beauty makes a comeback as UK shoppers return to stores, fragrance booms

Published
Nov 15, 2021

Prestige beauty was battered badly by the pandemic but the segment is on the comeback trail as shoppers return to physical stores and the renewal of social life/office working means more demand for certain key categories.


Photo: Pexels/Public domain



NPD Group said Monday that prestige beauty sales in physical stores increased 9% in the 13 weeks to the end of October, compared to the same period in 2020.That interesting because physical stores had been open in 2020’s equivalent three-month period. Shoppers back then clearly remained nervous about visiting stores pre-vaccination, and still had less need to buy categories like fragrance and make-up as curbs on social and office life remained.

NPD also said that online sales for prestige beauty in the latest period declined 6% when compared to the same 13 weeks in 2020, which is understandable given the migration back to physical spaces. 

It added that the prestige beauty market “has changed dramatically since last autumn” and despite retail’s wider shift online, the figures represent “positive news for prestige beauty retailers as customers return to physical stores for a more hands-on shopping experience”.

While make-up and skincare have both grown, the biggest growth has been seen in fragrance. Physical stores accounted for 62% of sales weight for prestige beauty as a whole, but 68% of the fragrance category in the three months. 

Overall, fragrance grew 14% in the period from January to the end of October, compared to the same period in 2020. Consumers clearly still need to test fragrances before they buy.

“This is positive news heading into the Christmas retail period as historically, November and December account for approximately half of a full year’s worth of fragrance sale”, NPD said.

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