France: Sales of prestige beauty products increased by 9% in 2021

After a sharp drop in 2020 (-20% compared to 2019), sales of the selective circuit in France return to growth in 2021, with an increase of 9%compared to the previous year, to reach 2,689 billion euros in 2021, according to The NPD Group.

An S1 remained marked by the pandemic

However, the persistence of the pandemic and the successive confinements in the first half of 2021 (with store closures) slowed the recovery. The prestige beauty market has yet to return to pre-Covid levels, with sales down 12% in 2021 compared to 2019.

The pace of growth nevertheless accelerated in the second half of 2021, with fourth quarter sales reaching a level similar to that of the same period in 2019. Finally, the year ended with record sales in the two weeks leading up to Christmas.

Physical stores are back in the game

Physical stores were the main contributors to the growth of the prestige beauty market in 2021. After the reopening of physical stores after the last confinement in France, online sales began to slow down, and even fell sharply in the fourth quarter, with a double-digit decline.

Sales in traditional stores accounted for 84% of the prestige beauty market in 2021compared to 16% for online sales, these results confirm the importance of the in-store shopping experience.

Fragrances stimulate growth

Perfumes were a key driver of growth in the prestige beauty market (accounting for 82% of the progression), with sales up 11% in 2021 compared to 2020.

The most dynamic segment of the category is that of home fragrances. Additionally, high-end fragrances and more concentrated fragrances, such as perfume waters and extracts, were preferred by buyers, resulting in a 3% increase in the average price. The same behavior has been observed in the United States.

Big success for body care

While skin care sales increased by 5% in 2021 (vs 2020), unit sales increased by 17%. For this category, consumers favor cheaper products and more affordable brands.

Driven by the home spa trend, sales of body care products confirmed their success, exceeding their level of 2019. In the field of facial products, skincare products, sprays/mists, oils, exfoliants and make-up removers returned to growth and recorded double-digit growth in 2021 compared to 2020.

Beautiful outlook for makeup

Prestige sales reconcile are up 5% compared to 2020 in France. With face coverings mandatory in most places, consumers focused their purchases on the eye and nail segments, which saw double-digit growth.

However, the consumption of the category’s emblematic products, such as foundations and lipsticks, resumed at the end of the year. “This is a very positive signal, announcing a good year 2022 for make-up,pointed out Le Groupe NPD.

Hair care is more assertive

Still emerging in the selective circuit, the hair care continues to impose itself, growing by 43% in 2021 compared to 2020, a year already considered to be flourishing for this segment. This growth is based on promotional sets and hair care.

There are increasingly visible signs that the recovery is accelerating since the lifting of restrictions. Once again, consumers have demonstrated that the health of the sector depends mainly on the in-store experience, even if online shopping has transformed their habits,concludes Mathilde Lion, Beauty Expert Europe at The NPD Group.

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