Retailers, consumers and prices
Looking great trumps smelling good
According to a survey by research firm NPD Group, total U.S. sales of beauty products (sold mainly in department stores) fell 3 percent to $8.38 billion in 2008.
But perfume sales faced the steepest decline, falling 6 percent to $2.68 billion, with lower sales of both men and women’s fragrances. That was despite demand for higher-priced perfume gift sets and a 9 percent rise in new scents for women like Viva La Juicy and the Harajuku Lovers collection.
Makeup also faced a decline in sales — 3 percent — with weak demand for items for the face, eyes and lips.
““The economic realities of 2008 have created fundamental shifts in the behavior of our consumers and the way they approach beauty,” said Karen Grant, senior global industry analyst and vice president of beauty for NPD.
But take heart! Consumers still seem keen to flaunt good skin. Sales of skin care products were even with the year before at $2.4 billion, and captured 1 percentage point more market share of total beauty sales. Anti-aging, allergy relief, and whitening or brightening products did particularly well.
Items priced above $70 and natural and spa-type skincare brands showed strong growth, the study showed.