Skin Care Was the Fastest Growing Beauty Category in Q4 – WWD

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Skin care soared during the holidays.

The category was the fastest-grower in both prestige and mass beauty during the fourth quarter, seeing 15 percent and 10 percent sales growth in the channels, respectively.

Makeup, which held the spot as prestige beauty’s fastest-growing category by dollar sales through the third quarter of 2023, saw the least growth in dollar sales during the fourth quarter, posting an 11 percent increase. This trailed behind hair care and fragrance’s respective 13 percent and 12 percent growth for the period.

Hybrid hair care and styling products emerged as the greatest volume contributors to overall beauty sales during the holiday period, defined by Circana as Oct. 1 through Dec. 23.

In mass beauty, makeup posted 5 percent growth, making it the second-fastest growing category by dollar sales; hair grew 4 percent, and fragrance was the lone category to see a decline, dropping 1 percent, indicating “the [fragrance] consumer continued to indulge in prestige brands,” said Larissa Jensen, senior vice president and global beauty industry adviser at Circana. Fragrance drivers included juices, gift sets and body sprays.

Total retail dollar sales were “negative in the midsingle digits” for the period between Oct. 1 through Dec. 23 versus the year prior, reported Jensen, who anticipates continued growth for both the prestige and mass markets in 2024, though it’s likely prestige will continue to outpace mass beauty growth.

Skin care’s winning segments were serums and hand soaps, while makeup growth was driven mostly by lip oils and blush. Overall prestige beauty grew 12 percent during the fourth quarter.

Skin care products “topped the holiday lists of many young consumers in 2023,” said Jensen, who anticipates this excitement for skin care and, more broadly, prestige beauty, will continue into 2024 and beyond.

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