How luxury beauty categories actually performed in 2020

Across the entire premium cosmetics industry sales declined in the UK, but who was the surprise victor?

The demand for luxury beauty products plummeted in 2020, a new report by market researcher The NPD Group has revealed, as sales dropped by 24% in Britain due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Sales of prestige beauty products in brick-and-mortar stores declined 44% last year when stores were forced to close due to government restrictions.

Unsurprisingly, online sales for premium cosmetics soared by 47% in 2020.

Fragrance was one of the best performing categories in prestige beauty, with a decline of 17%, followed by skin care (-21%) and make-up (-40%).

A similar trend was seen in the US, as make-up sales were down (-34%) for the year followed by skin care (-11%) and fragrance (-8%).

In UK-based skin care, sales of anti-acne serums increased by 51% last year, as mask wearing created new needs following concerns over 'maskne', and sales of prestige hand soaps grew 38%.

Following the #selfcare trend, prestige body care gained more than 1% of market share as consumers turned to at-home spa routines.

As previously reported, make-up faced the biggest battle in luxury cosmetics with consumers opting for a bare face due to remote working and reduced social life. Lipstick sales declined by 50%.

Emma Fishwick, Account Manager at NPD UK Beauty, said: “The UK’s prestige beauty industry has been hugely challenged in 2020.

"However, brands and retailers remain resilient and the trends we witnessed in previous years have accelerated during the pandemic.

"This includes the growth of online sales, the importance of a multi-channel retail approach, and the influence of social media on a consumer's path to purchase.”

Companies