Prestige beauty sales continue to grow in the UK

Year on year sales are up, the “Christmas effect” continues, and make-up leads the way

LONDON, 10th February, 2015: Prestige beauty sales in the UK ended 2014 showing a year on year growth for the second year running 2014 to a total market value of £2.3bn, according to The NPD Group, a global information company.

Total UK sales of prestige beauty products and fragrances were up by a healthy +5.1% year on year at the end of December, following an overall growth of +5.6% in 2012-2013. 

This growth was driven by a significant rise in the unit sales of make-up, up +9.7% compared to fragrance and skincare (down by -1.5% and -0.2% respectively).

While fragrance suffered a slight drop in unit sales compared to the previous year, it was by far the strongest performer in terms of average price, which rose by a sweet-smelling +4.7%. Make-up has gained a bigger value share of the UK’s total prestige market. The make-up share has increased steadily from 23% in 2012 to 24% in 2013 and finally 26% in 2014. Skincare’s share of the market value has decreased by 1% since 2012 to 21%, while fragrance’s share has declined from 55% in 2012 to 53% in 2014.

The “Christmas effect”

The beauty industry loves November and December, as they bring the “Christmas effect”. 2014 was no different in the UK, with November and December representing 38% of the total prestige 2014 sales. With that special somebody’s favourite perfume or aftershave an ever-popular festive gift, the “Christmas effect” is even more pronounced for fragrances, where nearly half of all yearly sales (49%) are made in the last two months of the year.

Everybody wants to look (and smell) good for those glitzy parties and big family gatherings over the festive season, so it is no surprise that December is the strongest month for sales for all three categories – fragrances, skincare and make-up. 2014 continued this trend, with 28% of the yearly fragrance sales, 18% of the yearly make-up sales and 18% of the yearly skincare sales made in December.

Make-up’s continuing success was evident over Christmas 2014 with sales up 12% against December 2013 (compared to a 3.2% increase for fragrance and a 1.3% increase for skincare). Fragrance was the biggest driver in terms of rise in average price this Christmas – up 5.8% compared to December 2013.

The “Christmas effect” peaked later last year in the UK as beauty shoppers left it to the last minute to pick up their presents. In 2014 it was week 52 which represented the peak in sales value. In 2012 and 2013 this peak was reached in week 51. In 2014, value sales in week 52 represented a 22.7% increase in comparison to the same week in 2013.

Make-up leads the way

In the UK in 2014, for total prestige beauty sales there was a -17.4% decline in growth from new launches. Make-up was the only category in 2014 to show any growth as a result of new launches, achieving a rise of +5.4% YOY. Skincare declined by -35.7% and fragrance by -18.7%.

June Jensen, Director, UK Beauty for The NPD Group. “Beauty is an industry where consumers are willing to spend. While there is brand loyalty, consumers are always on the hunt for products that will perform better and are willing to add to their routine if a new product proves worthwhile. This makes innovation is a key driver of growth.”

Despite a slowing of the rate of online growth since 2013, online continues to drive sales growth, particularly for skincare. Online sales in 2014 represented 7.6% of value weight for prestige beauty– up +28.9% since 2013. In the case of skincare online represents 8.4% - up +22.6% since 2013. The main contributors to online UK sales of prestige beauty products and fragrances in 2014 were fragrance juices, face skincare, fragrance gift sets and face make-up.

Fragrance Daisy Dream – launched July 2014
Skincare Clinique Smart Custom Serum 50ml – launched June 2014
Make-up Benefit Gimme Brow – launched March 2014


Fragrance Boss Hugo Boss
Skincare Clinique For Men Protect 100ml
Make-up Lauder Double Wear Foundation

Source: The NPD Group

Press Contact

Lucy Green
Greenfields Communications
07817 698366

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