7 Color Cosmetic Opportunities Amid COVID-19

Color cosmetics are challenged amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but key sectors offer growth.
Color cosmetics are challenged amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but key sectors offer growth.

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.”

For the full article, check out Global Cosmetic Industry's June digital magazine.


a www.npd.com

b www.channeladvisor.com

c www.spate.nyc

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