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Top Beauty & Sexual Wellness Categories: May-July 2021

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A tale of two sales trends: lipstick and hand soap have recently seen their fortunes reverse somewhat.

Despite the delta variant causing uncertainty for communities and industries, beauty and sexual wellness categories are showing a shift from homebound behaviors to public-facing habits, per new U.S. NielsenIQ data. The recent surge in COVID-19 cases could cause a resurgence in sectors such as hand sanitizers, but current data shows consumers have moved on (at least for now).

Previous report: What's Trending in Beauty in 2021?

For the five weeks ending July 3, 2021, a number of sectors displayed strong growth:

  • Body powder sales increased 88.6%
  • Nail appliance sales increased 84%
  • Exfoliator/scrub sales increased 37.9%
  • Facial cleanser wipe sales increased 37%
  • Deodorant sales increased 27.6%
  • Lip cosmetic sales increased 23.7%
  • False eyelash sales increased 23.1%
  • Sunscreen sales increased 23%
  • Self tanner sales increased 22.5%
  • Eye cosmetic sales increased 17.1%

NielsenIQ notes that sexual health product sales have grown across channels in the last 52 weeks, led by click-and-collect. Little surprise there.

Report: Sexual Wellness: Beauty's Next Frontier

In the latest 13 weeks, however, sexual health purchases have increased 18.4% overall, likely driven by the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and a return to more in-person activities. The same percentage growth was seen in brick-and-mortar channels, with a 6.5% rise in spend per buyer.

In the 52 weeks ending June 26, 2021 lubricant sales jumped 11.2% across omnichannel, driven by a 4.2% sales gain in offline channels.

The gains were in part driven by an 18.9% increase in lubricant-buying households and a 3.6% rise in the average unit price for lubricants. Growth was only partially offset by a 2.4% decrease in lubricant spend per household.

Meanwhile, lubricant contraceptive sales rose 27.9% in online channels, while click and collect lubricant sales jumped 67.7%. Shipped lubricant sales increased 26.8%.

However, not everything grew during this time.

  • Hand sanitizer sales decreased 86.3% amid vaccine rollouts and deemphasis of concerns over surface-borne infections; on a perhaps related note, soap sales decreased 15.5%
  • Aromatherapy sales, driven by home-bound shoppers, decreased 56.5%
  • Cosmetic appliances sales decreased 43.2%
  • Hair costume color sales decreased 37.5%, perhaps due to a return to in-person, in-office lifestyles; at the same time, hair color remover sales decreased 14.3%
  • Bath and shower sales decreased 25.6%, another indicator of the decline of home-centric lifestyles; similarly, bath additives sales decreased 10%
  • Facial toner sales decreased 19.8%
  • Manual grooming tools sales decreased 9.5%