Within the five largest countries for sales of prestige beauty products in Europe, which are tracked by The NPD Group, Germany has the biggest prestige beauty market in value sales, after UK and France. Among these three markets, Germany is the only country that didn’t show an overall decline in sales in 2019, thanks to a dynamic e-commerce channel.
With sales of prestige beauty products reaching EUR 3.2 billion, the German prestige beauty market remained flat in 2019 compared to the previous year , with fragrances and skincare increasing by 1 percent and 3 percent, respectively, and makeup declining 4 percent. 
Fragrances perform well
With net sales totalling EUR 1.7 billion, fragrances still represent the biggest prestige beauty category in Germany. As in other developed markets, sales continue to be propelled by the growth in stronger concentrations: perfumes grew by +38 percent while eau de parfums increased by +10 percent. However, these segments only account for a small share in overall fragrance sales.
“While juices overall continued to grow in the market, gift sets declined after last year’s stable result. We also see a slight decline in brick and mortar for fragrances while online continues to grow, especially driven by bigger fragrances sizes in e-commerce,” added The NPD Group.
German and natural brands drive skincare sales
Skincare, the second largest category in Europe’s prestige beauty market, grew faster compared to fragrances. According to The NPD Group, a key factor contributing to skincare’s annual performance in Germany is the double-digit growth of online sales.
Indeed, e-commerce now reaches 20 percent of the category sales, while the growth of brick and mortar sales was slightly negative in 2019.
In total, the category brought in EUR 0.8 billion this year, with ‘German’ and / or ‘natural’ brands as the top growth contributors. Looking at specific segments of the market, facial moisturizers and anti-aging, especially through products such as serums, grew in value sales. Also, beauty supplements continue to be a trend that’s contributing to growth in Germany’s prestige skincare market.
Tough time for make-up
Makeup had a tough year in 2019. According to The NPD Group, with a total result of EUR 0.7 billion sales in 2019, the category lost EUR 28 million compared to the previous year. Eye products, especially eye shadow palettes, were under pressure, but the face and lip segments did not escape the drop in sales.
“My one word to characterize the beauty industry in 2019 was ‘consciousness’ - the beauty consumer becomes more and more aware of the ingredients, environmentally friendly production and reputation of a beauty product”, said Samantha Grand, Germany Beauty Executive Director at The NPD Group. “Transparency and sustainability become more important, and consumers focus on the social and environmental impacts of their beauty products. This could be a benefit for G-Beauty brands  - brands that are manufactured and designed here in Germany, as well as it will be for any brands with natural or green positioning.”
A report published last year by Naturkosmetik Konzepte already highlighted the dynamic growth of natural cosmetics in Germany which had gained more than a million consumers, all distribution channels combined, in 2018.