Prestige beauty sales in France decline
20% as online sales soar in 2020 due to COVID-19, reports The NPD Group

Consumers go digital as online
prestige beauty sales increase 52% in 2020

Paris: 1 February 2021: Prestige beauty sales in France declined 20% in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, according to The NPD Group. Sales of prestige beauty products in brick-and-mortar stores declined 26% in 2020, when stores were closed for three months and were further impacted by travel restrictions and curfews. However, consumers happily made the switch to e-commerce which saw a 52% increase in online prestige beauty sales 2020. While e-commerce doubled its market weight (to 16%), it only compensated for 18% of brick-and-mortar total losses.

Fragrance in focus

Fragrance demonstrated its resilience in 2020 and was one of the best performing categories in prestige beauty. In 2020, total prestige fragrance sales declined 15%, five points less than the overall prestige beauty market. The first lockdown had a negative impact on sales in the fragrance market, but when stores reopened, recovery was in sight, and the market showed positive signs despite a second lockdown in November. Christmas was a dynamic period where fragrance sales increased 17% between 30 November 2020, and 27 December 2020, compared to the same period in 2019, confirming that fragrances remain one of the most important Christmas gifts for consumers.

Skincare and selfcare

Skincare came into sharp focus in 2020.  It was the most resilient category during the first lockdown as consumers maintained more of their skincare routine. The skincare category declined 25% in 2020, but sales of anti-acne/anti-imperfection products increased by 32% in value in 2020 as mask wearing created new needs.

Following the #selfcare trend, prestige body care gained more than 1% of market share due to the popularity of body creams, lotions and sprays as consumers turned to spa-at-home routines.


Make-up was the most challenged category in 2020, which declined 35% compared to 2019. Remote work reduced social life and the trend for natural makeup led to a decrease in demand. For example, sales of lip make-up declined 53%, due to the government regulations to wear face masks.

Haircare heroes

Prestige haircare, a small segment, reported impressive growth, with sales increasing 27% in 2020. Unlike other prestige categories, online is the primary choice for consumers purchasing haircare, generating 59% of sales as consumers can find a wider range of products than in-store.

Mathilde Lion, Expert Beauté Europe chez The NPD Group says: “2020 was a challenging year for prestige beauty, but there are many lessons for brands and retailers to observe. The growth of click and collect, e-commerce, and the willingness for consumers to trial samples at home before purchasing are important as brands build on their multi-channel retail offering. Innovative brands turned to social media to connect directly with their customer, but we still see the importance of brick-and-mortar stores for customers who want to consult with an expert at the counter.”