Makeup is a challenged category, but opportunities exist in key categories and among nimble brands.
The COVID-19 outbreak has hit beauty sales amid store shutdowns and rising unemployment. For example, first-quarter 2020 U.S. prestige beauty sales totaled $3.6 billion, a drop of 14% year-over-year, per NPD dataa.
Makeup has been particularly impacted, with sales totaling $1.4 billion, a drop of 22% year-over-year. The category will take longer to come back than originally predicted prior to the pandemic, per NPD analyst Larissa Jensen. In fact, she noted, 63% of women are currently wearing less makeup as they shelter in place, which could create new non-makeup habits.
While the color cosmetics sector is in for a challenging time, strategic opportunities and strategies exist.
If you’re not online, are you even in business? The rapid closure of retailers around the world has made e-commerce the place to be. In the United States, prestige beauty online sales jumped 24% in Q1 2020 (per NPD) and, as of March, comprised 48% of total sales.
This is an astonishing jump in share and is unlikely to ever return to pre-pandemic levels. Though makeup performed rather poorly in the quarter, its online sales still jumped 18% year-over-year.
While color cosmetics have suffered, at-home nail care solutions have benefitted from widespread salon closures and ample time at home. Per NPD, prestige nail care was up 9%, year-over-year in Q1, while sales of top/base coat nail polish grew 7%.
Channel Advisorb speculated that a recent spike in year-over-year growth in nail subcategories is due to an increase in at-home manicures and pedicures.
According to Spatec, as a large portion of the world’s workforce shifts to working remotely, makeup products “that have a high impact on video calls” are being sought out by consumers. This includes bronzers. Analyzing Google search volume between mid-February and March, Spate found that “bronzer” queries grew by 220% to reach 33,350 searches. The most popular searches for the category included “face bronzer,” “face cream bronzer,” “face bronzer brush” and “face bronzer stick.”