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France’s 2020 prestige beauty sales decline by 20%

Katie Nichol

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France’s 2020 prestige beauty sales decline by 20%

Online sales of prestige beauty in France may have seen strong growth last year, but they failed to compensate for the decline in brick-and-mortar in 2020, according to new data from The NPD Group.

Impacted by lockdowns, subsequent store closures and other covid-19-related restrictions, prestige beauty sales in France’s selective retail channel were down by 20% in 2020, says NPD. Brick-and-mortar sales fell 26%, while online selective beauty sales increased by 52%, and now account for 16% of the market. Despite this, e-commerce only compensated for 18% of the drop in physical store sales.

Drilling down to categories, the market paints a mixed picture. With a 35% drop in sales compared with 2019, make-up was the hardest hit segment in 2020. Lipstick sales in particular, were down 53%.

Skincare, meanwhile, saw sales decrease by 25%. While mask wearing has meant fewer consumers are buying lip products, skincare has benefited, with sales of acne products and those targeting skin imperfections up 32% in value last year. In line with the trend for selfcare, high-end bodycare saw its market share increase by 1%.

The fragrance category performed better than the selective beauty market as a whole; the segment’s sales were down by 15% in 2020. The holiday season remained an important period for fragrance sales with a 17% uptick in sales between November 30 and December 27, 2020 compared with 2019. While a small segment, high-end haircare saw sales growth of 27% in 2020 with some 59% of sales done online.

The NPD Group Beauty Expert Europe Mathilde Lion says that brands and retailers can learn a lot from last year. "The growth of click and collect and e-commerce, as well as consumers’ desire to sample a product at home before purchase, are important signals for brands to build on their multi-channel retail offer. Innovative brands have turned to social networks to connect directly with their customers, but the in-store experience remains essential for consumers seeking expert advice,” she comments.

It remains to be seen how 2021 will play out. While France is not currently under lockdown, a nationwide 6pm curfew is in place, and some department stores and shopping centers have closed since January 31st in line with government orders.

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