My favorite part about the holidays is finding the perfect gift. Watching my children, husband, and others in my family open the gifts I so carefully picked out for them is unquestionably the most rewarding moment of the season. And every year, beauty products make it to my shopping list.
According to the NPD Holiday Purchase Intentions Report, more than a quarter of U.S. consumers are planning to purchase a beauty product during the holiday season — and, if the sales results for the past year are any indication, the beauty industry is poised for another happy holiday in 2021. Year-to-date performance across the prestige makeup, skincare, fragrance, and hair categories have been strong, and NPD is forecasting that this trend will continue, with the U.S. beauty industry closing out the year with double-digit revenue growth.
What will propel the beauty industry’s growth this holiday season? In a word, fragrance. The fragrance category has been the standout winner in beauty all year, posting sales gains that are triple that of makeup and skincare. And with over 40% of annual fragrance sales happening during the fourth quarter, it is a top choice for consumers looking for that perfectly indulgent beauty gift. While there has been a general decline in the percentage of consumers who shop late in the season, fragrances are notoriously last-minute gifts. Fragrance sales in December comprise over 60% of the category’s fourth quarter, and revenue during Christmas week can be anywhere from 25%, to over 100%, higher than any week prior.
Beauty gifts extend beyond fragrances, of course, and I expect the hair category will have one of its strongest holidays to date. Revenue growth for hair products this year has been outpaced only by fragrances. Consumer interest is high, and usage is unrivaled in beauty. According to the “Hair Consumer Untangled” report from NPD, over 96% of consumers used hair products in the past year. Other gifting favorites this year will include makeup products adorned with festive packaging, along with skincare sets, which are always a popular beauty gift — whether as a self-gifting option or as a gift for others.
With the holiday season in full swing before the Thanksgiving turkey is served, and with strong consumer spending, the conditions are ripe for the beauty industry to have another successful season. As we head into the last few weeks of the quarter, brands that have positioned themselves to capitalize on this environment will certainly entice consumers like myself to find the perfect gift.