It’s a tough market out there for retailers. But there is one segment of the retail industry that is thriving: cosmetics. Young shoppers today are spending almost 25 percent more on cosmetics than they did just two years ago. They all outspend baby boomers in the makeup department considerably. According to research conducted by the firm NPD, millennials that self-identify as “makeup enthusiasts” use upward of six different cosmetic products per day.
In the US, Beauty retailers are reaping the benefits of this. Revenues at beauty retailer Ulta Beauty are expected to hit $5.9 billion this year – up from just $3.9 billion two years ago. Similarly, revenues at beauty retailer Sephora have doubled since 2011. Sales are up for newcomers to the cosmetic industry and long-time established brands alike. 20-year-old Kylie Jenner’s makeup line, Kylie Cosmetics, had racked up a staggering $420 million in sales a mere 18 months after it launched. Meanwhile, Estée Lauder’s Double Wear foundation – a product that has been on the market for over three decades now – has seen double-digit growth rates in sales.
The trend holds true in the UK as well. As of this spring, cosmetics have become the top-performing category within the health and beauty sector, with sales up over £55 million over the course of the past year. Sales of bronzer in the UK doubled within a year, while sales of concealers shot up from £52 million to £42 million. Face contouring products and eyebrow products have also sold at much higher rates – largely driven by the trends for dark, thick eyebrows and heavily contoured faces seen in the selfies of stars like Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, and Cara Delevigne.
“The result is that there is a lot more new product development among brands in this space, for both female, and increasingly male, cosmetics, leading to a wider and often more interesting choice of items within stores and online,” Chloe Humphreys-Page, a director at market analytics firm IRI told the Independent earlier this year. “The impact of the so-called ‘selfie generation’ – where people are spending disproportionately long periods of time studying their faces and making sure they are camera-ready – is not just driving sales for certain cosmetics, but also boosting demand for ancillary products, like eyebrow kits, sponges, pencils, and brushes.”
This increased demand for cosmetic products will be good news for retailers this holiday season, as cosmetic sales are expected to buoy the performance of the beauty market overall. And the even better news? Analysts say the cosmetics market is expected to enjoy even further growth in 2018.
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