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Apr 14, 2020
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French prestige beauty sales hurt by coronavirus says NPD

Apr 14, 2020

France’s prestige beauty market has been hurt by the total lockdown in the country, a new report has said. Research specialist NPD Group said on Tuesday that higher-end beauty sales in France “have been significantly affected” so far. During the first full week of lockdown from March 16, sales declined as much as 93% with online clearly unable to make up for the closure of physical shops.

YSL Beauty

That drop dragged the year-to-date’s sales down by 9% overall, although prestige haircare has risen 2% so far this year, suggesting it has held up during the crisis period.

NPD noted that as physical stores closed, prestige beauty sales “naturally shifted online” but not by anywhere near enough to keep the sector going. In fact, online sales declined 9% year-on-year during that first lockdown week “as consumers adjusted to a new life working from home”.

That said, just as NPD had seen in the UK at the same time, certain key product categories did see something of a boom.

It said that sales of prestige hand soaps increased eightfold in the first week of lockdown, continuing a trend that had been seen in late February and earlier in March.

The researchers said that the move to apply “barrier gestures” accelerated with hand soap sales up 15-fold in the four weeks to March 22.

Many beauty firms have been doing all they can to keep consumers engaged during the lockdown, such as YSL, which has been publishing home tutorials on Instagram

NPD’s Europe beauty analyst Mathilde Lion said: “The lockdown in France has had an unprecedented impact on the prestige beauty market. Consumers are adjusting to a new life at home and their purchases reflect this. Fragrances, make-up and skincare categories dropped significantly but we can notice a better resistance of prestige haircare, still positive at +2% in [the year-to-date]. Also, following guidelines on hand washing, sales of hand soaps have increased dramatically.”

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