According to NPD, sales of prestige makeup products in France are expected...

According to NPD, sales of prestige makeup products in France are expected to rise by about 1% in 2014. Photo: © Graça Victoria /

Sales of prestige beauty products (brands sold in specialised beauty stores and in department stores) in France declined by 1.5% in value in 2013, after a drop of 0.9% in 2012. However, while sales of skincare products and fragrances declined by 1.7%, makeup ended the year on steady sales. Furthermore, as sales of makeup products grew by 1% on the first eight months of 2014, said the NPD research firm. “In the long term, it is the category that progressed the most in the selective perfumery channel, growing by 15% between 2006 and 2013,” says Mathilde Lion, beauty expert at NPD.

A strong market

According to NPD, sales of prestige makeup products in France are expected to rise by about 1% in 2014. Make-up sales remain strong despite the crisis. “The rise is moderate in value, due to the development of low cost ranges by new players, but sales in volumes are boosted by numerous innovations and new products," says NDP.

This is the case for mascara brushes or eyebrow gels. While nail polishes benefited from a widening of ranges and colours driven by new fashion trends that encouraged repeated purchases from consumers.

In addition, thanks to very low entry-level process, makeup products benefits from impulse purchases. “Makeup remains a little and reasonable indulgence that one’s still considers as accessible,” said Ms. Lion.

Finally, the last factor that helps these products resist crisis is that, thanks to make-up “one’s can buy luxury brands at a reasonable price," she added.

A growth driver for ready-to-wear fashion?

Besides prestige brands, the French make-up market is captured by mass market brands (L’Oréal Paris ...), and by beauty retailers’ (Sephora, Nocibé ...) and mass market private label brands (Carrefour’s Les Cosmétiques Design Paris, Intermarché’s Labell Paris ...) as well as by the more recent brands launched by textile brands such as H&M, Zara, Camaieu or, lately, Etam.

Impacted by consumption cuts made by French consumers, the ready-to-wear market recorded declining sales for six consecutive years, some brands therefore perceive the makeup market as offering alternative growth opportunities.

Accessories (leather goods, jewellery and beauty) help read-to-wear brands to recruit new customers, to increase the frequency of store visits and to stimulate additional sales, and therefore to rise the average purchase.

Eventually, “there is still room for new players in the makeup market, as illustrated the recent success of Italian brand Kiko. Clearly, there are market shares to conquer in France,” in particular in the low cost segment, deems Yves Marin, consumption specialist at Kurt Salmon.