Germany prestige beauty market generated EUR 2,7 billion in sales during 2020 and reported a 16% decline compared to 2019, found to The NPD Group [1]. Germany is the only country, along the five largest European markets for prestige beauty, with an overall decline in sales below 20%. For instance, the prestige beauty market posted a 20% drop in France and a 24% decline in the United Kingdom. According to the market research firm, Germany’s performance is mainly due to shorter lockdown periods, as well as the industry’s online channel maturity.

Double-digit of online sales

Online sales in Germany saw a 25% increase in 2020. However, as in the other European countries, this rise could not compensate the declines from brick-and-mortar stores. The e-commerce channel registered almost one quarter of all prestige beauty sales in 2020 compared to 16% in 2019.

Fragrances impacted by lockdowns

The EUR 1.4 billion fragrances category decreased by 14% but still represents the largest share of prestige beauty sales in Germany. Juices showed double-digit decline but overall showed a better performance in the market compared to gift sets and ancillaries.

Retail lockdowns in Germany happened during Easter and Christmas, two key consumption periods for fragrances. Also, during Mother’s Day, the category suffered as it took place three weeks after the spring lockdown.

Skincare showed the best resilience

The skincare category, the second largest category in Germany’s beauty market, posted an 11% drop and showed the best resilience among the three main categories.

According to The NPD Group, the key factor contributing to skincare’s annual performance is the higher percentage of online sales even before the retail lockdown. E-commerce now represents 27 percent of the category sales. The other main explanation is the trend towards more beauty “me-time” at home.

Makeup strongly impacted

With a 27% drop, makeup reported the biggest impact from the pandemic. Reduced social life during and after lockdown, as well as mandatory mask wearing contributed to the decline. This was noteworthy for the sales of lip products, which declined by 40%. Eye products such as mascara and eyebrow resisted better than the rest of the category. Within face products, blushes and highlighters had a difficult year, while tinted moisturizer and setting sprays were less affected.