UK prestige market outperforms Europe

NPD Group research shows prestige growth to outperform mass

The UK’s prestige beauty market has performed well, despite the tough economic backdrop, according to the NPD Group. The market research company’s latest data shows growth within the UK prestige market outperformed other European markets. Moreover, the region’s prestige market is faring well compared with the mass market beauty sector.

Growth patterns, says NPD, are reflected across all categories with fragrance up 14%, make-up 7% and skin care 8%, all well above growth levels for the same products in continental Europe. One explanation for this is that the UK offers the lowest priced premium beauty products across Europe, creating less of a barrier for consumers to move from mass to prestige. This is most pronounced in fragrance. Other factors include successful re-launches of top brands, increased promotional activity, a higher number of new launches compared to other markets and high levels of media interest.

In the UK, more affordable beauty appears to be losing ground to luxury products, while spend on prestige beauty grew 10% in the half year ending June 2011, mass beauty contracted by 1%.

Manager for NPD Beauty UK, June Jensen, believes UK prestige beauty’s growth is due to a successful retail model. “In the UK premium beauty products tend to be sold in department stores where consultants offer consumers a personal service that makes the purchase feel special,” she commented. “All of this is a stark contrast to France, Italy and Spain where the model tends to be self-service in chain stores.”