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Published
May 14, 2021
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High-end make-up sales recover in UK, lipstick bounces back

Published
May 14, 2021

Make-up was one of the beauty categories that suffered most during lockdowns as working from home, mask-wearing and curtailed social lives dented its must-have status.


Photo: Pexels/Public domain


But the super-category is on the recovery trail with NPD Group saying that prestige make-up sales in the UK surged 229% in just two weeks as non-essential retail and outdoor dining resumed.

The total prestige beauty market was valued at £2 billion in 2020, down from 2019’s £2.6 billion as store closures and lockdowns caused consumers to change many of their usual beauty routines. 

Within this, prestige make-up was “the most challenged sector”, which is why the latest sales spike is such good news.

NPD said that in the fortnight from April 11, prestige make-up sales in most sub-categories reported triple-digit growth. Foundation sales increased 253%, tinted moisturiser sales were up 267% and bronzer sales increased 173%. 

Lip product sales had suffered disproportionately during lockdowns with mask-wearing being a particular challenge. But total sales of lip products increased 190% in the first two weeks following the reopening of retail. Lipgloss sales rose 185% and lip-liner sales increased a massive 434%. This was a dramatic shift from 2020 when consumers embraced a more natural look. 

But mask-wearing is still a factor and make-up purchasing trends are still being affected by this. NPD said eye make-up — which is an important part of the mask-wearing ritual — saw huge spikes in the fortnight after stores reopened. Sales of mascara increased 287% and sales of eyeliner and eyelashes increased 283% and 307% respectively.

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