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Gifting Beauty

Posted: December 13, 2013

Are beauty products always great gifts? This is the question NPD Group director and beauty industry analyst Larissa Jensen investigates in her blog post “The Gift of Great Skin?

Kits and gift sets have been a holiday staple for many years, and beauty products certainly take advantage. Jensen writes, “What never ceases to amaze me, however, is the sheer volume of festively decorated and specially packaged skin care gift sets that are available. And not just any old skin care sets, but anti-aging skin care sets (no pun intended). Tell me, is the blow of receiving a rapid wrinkle repair product lessened when it’s packed inside a sparkly red, green, or gold box? As the receiver of a gift like this, it has to mess with your mind a little bit. On one hand, you are thrilled to get such a generous gift, as most of these sets are pretty pricey. On the other hand, you must be thinking, ‘Do I really look like I need this?’”

Jensen notes a potential personal bias, explaining, “My age likely plays a key role here, because personally, I would not receive these types of gifts well. I would be outwardly gracious, and inwardly paranoid.” However, according to statistics from The NPD Group, Jensen is in the minority, as “sales of skin care gift sets sold in prestige department stores during the month of December more than doubled in dollar volume since 2008, to reach over $94 million in 2012. And among the top ranked skin care sets, more than half were anti-aging focused.” Jensen notes the likelihood that many people ask for these sets as gifts and may also be buying them for themselves, but also posits, “The success of skin care sets during the holiday season suggests that wish lists and self-gifting aren’t the only things driving growth. This means there are some women out there who will open a pretty box filled with the gift of great skin, for which they will be very grateful … and maybe feel just a little bit paranoid.”