Prestige Beauty: In France, Sales of High-End Perfumes Are More Resilient Than Skincare and Makeup, According to a Study by The NPD Group

Compared to the same period in 2019, online sales have practically doubled between January and the end of October 2020, to represent 13% of overall sales

Paris, December 15, 2020 - In France, sales of high-end perfumes are showing resilience in the face of difficult economic conditions, as a study by The NPD Group reveals. In France, this category generated 1.21 billion euros between January and the end of October 2020. During the first 10 months of the year, the perfumes category fell by 18% in value compared to the same period in 2019, but this is a performance well above that of the global selective beauty market, which fell 22%.

Increase in online sales of perfumes

Online sales of premium fragrances increased by 41% between January and the end of October 2020, compared to the same period the previous year. During these first 10 months of the year, they greatly exceeded the performance of the overall online selective beauty market, up 34% from 2019.

Although perfumeries and department stores have reopened since May, online sales of perfumes have accelerated their growth after coming out of the first lockdown in France. From August to October 2020, online sales increased 46% in value, confirming that consumers are comfortable buying their favorite fragrances online. Fragrance gift sets were particularly dynamic from August 2020 to October 2020 compared to the same time last year, increasing 98%.

These positive results online saw the weight of online sales almost double to 13% in the year January 2020 to end of October 2020 compared to last year (7%).

Physical stores

When they reopened, brick-and-mortar stores continued to play an important role in the consumer experience. Adopting a dynamic approach to ensure appropriate sanitary conditions, they succeeded in limiting the drop in sales: from August to October 2020, they lost 9% compared to the same period in 2019.

Mathilde Lion, Beauty Expert Europe at The NPD Group, comments: “Online penetration for prestige fragrance in France remains quite modest when compared to other industries and countries such as UK or Germany. We have seen that when physical stores are closed, online retail can't currently compensate for the losses in brick and mortar stores. However, brands and retailers are adapting to these changes, proposing new ways to test fragrances at home and facilitating the trend through click & collect, online or phone advice, as well as live streaming shopping. Consumers are experimenting with new ways of purchasing, which is set to transform the way they shop in the future.”


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