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'Luxury Skin Care Has to Push the Boundaries to Remain Relevant'

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With skin care’s drivers shifting from larger brands to smaller and more natural brands, and retail evolving to a more experiential model, the very definition of luxury has changed in consumers’ minds, according to research from NPD Group

"Previously impenetrable in its consistent growth and contributions to the overall market, skin care priced at $100 and above has declined for the past two years," said Jennifer Famiano, manager, industry analyst at the NPD Group. 

Natural Luxury on the Rise

However, as conventional luxury skin care is trending down, natural luxury skin care is increasing at a rate of 9%,* according to NPD’s Women’s Facial Skincare Consumer Report 2017. In fact, 40% of U.S. women report that they actively seek out facial skin care products that are free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and/or gluten. This number increased by 7 points in the last two years.

The brands helping to really drive this trend in the luxury space have a stronger presence in specialty stores and boutique retailers

"The brands helping to really drive this trend in the luxury space have a stronger presence in specialty stores and boutique retailers, and are able to give consumers a truly luxe feel with products encased in minimalistic glass bottles of handcrafted elixirs in small batches," said Famiano. 

Boutique retailers are offering consumers one-on-one attention, expertise and services beyond what a counter is able to do,  Famiano said, and consumers are responding.There’s also an increased focus on service and personalization, the hallmarks of luxury skin care, coming from lower priced brands. Meanwhile, more facial skin care consumers are reporting they prefer one-on-one consultations when visiting a store.

More facial skin care consumers are reporting they prefer one-on-one consultations when visiting a store

"In the past, personal service and quality product was enough to give luxury an edge over prestige skin care," Famiano said. "But with a shifting retail environment and a consumer whose definition of luxury includes technology, health services and nutrition as part of her beauty routine, luxury skin care has to push the boundaries to remain relevant," Famiano concluded. 

*Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / U.S. Prestige Beauty Total Measured Market