Back-to-college merchandise is big business. “College students are starting to represent the most important segment of the back-to-school market,” said Perry James, an analyst with the NPD Group. The segment has grown, Perry said, since the weak job market has caused many college seniors to extend their education through graduate school.
After years of declines, U.S. prestige beauty experienced a boost in 2010, with skin care proving yet again to be the strongest performer, according to beauty market research conducted by the NPD Group.
Sales of games and puzzles dipped 6% last year to $1.24 billion, according to the NPD Group, but Adrienne Appell, a spokeswoman for the Toy Manufacturers Association, said that as a category, games have held steady over the past few years.