Prestige beauty sales in brick-and-mortar stores increased 9% in the 13 weeks to the end of October 2021, compared to the same period in 2020, according to The NPD Group. Online sales for prestige beauty in this period declined 6% when compared to the same 13 weeks in 2020.

Growth driven by fragrance

Based on the 13 week period to the end of October 2021, brick-and-mortar sales accounted for 62% of total sales weight, which increases to 68% if total sales weight when looking at the fragrance category in isolation. According to The NPD Group, this is positive news heading into the Christmas retail period as historically, November and December account for approximately half of a full year’s worth of fragrance sales.

Fragrance is one of the most dynamic categories in prestige beauty, growing 14% in the period from January 2021 to the end of October 2021, compared to the same period in 2021. This reflects a similar trend across the prestige beauty market where all categories (skincare, make-up and fragrance) are all performing positively compared to the same period in 2020.

It’s great news to see consumers returning to the high street and visiting beauty counters. It demonstrates the continued importance of beauty consultants, and there are other benefits including no delivery costs, you can touch, feel and smell products while also embracing the social aspect of retail therapy. In brick-and-mortar stores you can purchase the tangible product and take it away there and then,” explains Emma Fishwick, account manager, NPD UK Beauty.

The new face of beauty retail

However, the prestige beauty market has changed dramatically since last autumn when stores were periodically closed due to lockdown. A number of high street retailers have also closed due to the pandemic and e-commerce rapidly developed to become the second largest channel for beauty and grooming purchases after hypermarkets and supermarkets according to GlobalData.

The fact that customers return to physical stores for a more hands-on shopping experience represents positive news for prestige beauty retailers and confirms the adoption of e-retailers for beauty and grooming is set to slow. However, e-commerce will continue to grow in the country and retailers definitively have to provide beauty consumers with a tailored omni-channel shopping experience.