Skincare, fragrance or makeup: all prestige beauty categories are concerned by this French craze for compact formats.

Variations in the number of units sold in 2014 vs. 2013 - Source: The NPD...

Variations in the number of units sold in 2014 vs. 2013 - Source: The NPD Group

According to The NPD Group, there are three key factors to explain this success: the price (a small size perfume costs between 40 and 45 euros vs. an average 62 euros for a 50 ml), the travel size format is in line with the needs of modern life, and the possibility to give in to the temptation to test new products at a lower cost.

Consumers in love with small size perfumes

As far as fragrances are concerned, both the perfumery classics and the most recent launches have adopted the new sized packaging, aiming at attracting greatest numbers. In 2014, sales of feminine fragrances in 21-30 ml bottles recorded a 1% increase in units when the overall market fell by 2%. The situation is similar for men’s fragrances, with an increase of sales by 2% in units in 2014 for small formats while the whole segment decreased by 5% over the same period.

Small size fragrances, skin care and makeup products increasingly appeal to...

Small size fragrances, skin care and makeup products increasingly appeal to French consumers. Photo: © Olga Miltsova / shutterstock.com

Small size products allow to target different buyers, which are less loyal to brands and are looking for new products," highlights Mathilde Lion, Beauty Expert Europe at The NPD Group. “This is a real lever for growth and the trend has been accelerating sharply in the first quarter 2015, with sales of women’s fragrances in bottles of 30 ml and less growing by 8% while the 31-44 ml male fragrances generated a 10% surplus of units sold compared to last year."

The success of makeup kits

Makeup items also ride this trend, which is probably fuelled by the success of beauty boxes in this sector. For instance, The NPD Group points out the success of makeup kits usually offering a number of trial size products. After a harsh period, 2-in-1 products are also making their come back with sales increasing by 59% in units in 2014.

Skincare too!

The small-size revolution is also underway in the premium anti-aging skincare category. According to The NPD Group, sales of 30 ml and less formats grew by 9%, both in units and in value in, 2014.

"It’s a small segment within the entire anti-aging market (4% of units sold) but it has a high growth potential," concludes Mathilde Lion.