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Jan 12, 2022
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UK prestige beauty saw late Christmas surge says NPD

Published
Jan 12, 2022

Demand for prestige beauty products in the UK continues to rocket and sales leapt 46% year-on-year in the last trading week to Christmas, according to The NPD Group’s latest figures. Fragrance was the star gift performer.


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In the final retail week before Christmas, spending across both physical and digital stores hit £161.6 million, an increase of £26.5 million compared to the same period in pre-pandemic 2019.

Although the latest performance was up against last year’s low-key lockdown Christmas, figures also show sales were up 20% compared to the same period in 2019.

And, of course, those latest high-end sales were won despite the backdrop of a “challenging” and “uncertain” Christmas trading period, hit by additional restrictions and the emerging Omicron variant. 

NPD said that after a slow start in December, due to uncertainty over new restrictions, “consumers flocked to prestige beauty retailers in the last week before Christmas”. 

It was a positive story across the sector, boosted by last-minute consumer demand for prestige beauty products across both physical stores and digital channels. Unit sales increased 6%, and the average sales price increased 13% compared to the same week in 2019.

E-commerce continued to be the winner, and accounted for 56% of the market gains while sales increased 84% compared to 2019.

Sales in physical stores during week 51 also performed well against 2019, increasing 10%, “helped by the timing of Christmas Day, ensuring consumers had three additional days to shop pre-Christmas”, the report noted.

And physical stores sales increased 64% compared to 2020 when a high proportion of the country in regional lockdowns.

By category, fragrance drove pre-Christmas market growth with sales increasing 53% and 31% respectively compared to the same weeks in 2020 and 2019. 

Sales of men’s fragrance increased 36% and sales of women’s fragrance grew 28% compared to the same period in 2019. 

Sales of skincare, make-up and haircare also enjoyed double-digit growth in week 51 compared to the same week in 2020.

Subsegments that recorded the highest percentage growth compared to the same week in 2020 include: bubble bath (+706%), hair masks (+131%) and candles (+108%).

Emma Fishwick, Account Manager, NPD UK Beauty, said: “The impressive results reported in week 51 2021, compared to both 2020 and 2019, demonstrates the importance of prestige beauty to the Christmas gift-giving period. These positive sales figures are very welcome news for retailers and brands alike.” 

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