As most of the world continues to practice social distancing, comfort and at-home beauty treatments have emerged as the dominant beauty trends.

US prestige beauty sales dropped 14 per cent in the first quarter of the year, reports NPD.

But the result could have been worse if online sales hadn’t  picked up a major amount of the slack, reveals the researcher.

Online prestige beauty sales in the US surged 24 per cent in the first quarter of the year, accounting for 48 per cent of total sales in the category.

Drilling down to individual sectors – online skincare sales rose 27 per cent, followed by fragrance (+19%) and makeup (+18%).

Hair salons have been in lockdown in the US and sales of premium haircare products surged 41 per cent in Q1 to US$199 million.

Hair colourants led the pack with a sales leap of 82 per cent, followed by hair masks (+32%).

With more people working from home, prestige makeup sales experienced the biggest decline to US$1.4 billion for the first quarter and showed the smallest online gains.

Skincare sales slowed the least over the period – down 8 per cent to US$1.3 billion, while fragrance sales slumped 13 per cent to US$655.3 million.

By contrast, home scents were a strong performer with sales of candles up 8 per cent, followed by diffusers (+5%) and room fragrances (+4%).

Despite a strong start to the year across most categories, the prestige beauty industry is not immune to the steep March losses seen across retail, said Larissa Jensen, beauty industry adviser, The NPD Group.

 “Self-care and at-home beauty treatments are where the growth is for the beauty market at this moment, as consumers have no choice but to take beauty services into their own hands,” she said.

“In March, consumers began putting an even greater focus on their skin and hair care, applying makeup and wearing fragrance have lost importance during quarantine.”

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