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Lip, eye trends heat up beauty space


Retailers are asking for fewer — but bigger and bolder — new products and fewer flankers.

So what’s hot — and why?

(To view the full Category Review, click here.)

Color cosmetics are gaining in mass market stores right now, with overall sales up more than 5%, but a few subcategories are putting up even stronger dollar sales. Lip, for example, is up almost 10%, while eye is soaring more than 12%. Lip is paced by treatments, with sales soaring 60%. Some of the gains are from new products bringing technology to mass that once was once only available in prestige doors. E.l.f. sales grew to giant status thanks to new distribution and innovative products. The other big gains were from such plumpers as Physicians Formula’s Plump Potion, which is for those who don’t want professional lip fillers. The discovery of the NYX brand by more consumers also rocketed NYX sales in several items by more than 100%.

In lipsticks, products offering “dupe” looks made famous by Kylie Jenner and other influencers sailed to new heights. These include Jordana Cosmetics, Maybelline Color Sensational Matte Lipstick and Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lipcolor. Millennials like to find effective, yet naturally positioned products with the fewest ingredients. To wit, Burt’s Bees lip products expanded more than 20%, some of that from expanded distribution, too. For the future, retailers are toying with the dark shades floating onto shelves, such as Maybelline’s The Loaded Bolds, which include dramatic pigments, such as clay.

The mass market’s ability to react swiftly to trends is credited with boosting eye category sales 12%. With influencers turning brows into artwork, such brands as Maybelline and NYX jumped into the fray with brow kits perfect for mass experimentation. Retailers took advantage of momentum and built endcap displays to help perfect the perfect arch and nab almost 50% gains at the same time.

An added boost to the attention to eyes has been an uptick in sales of eyelashes and adhesives, which showed a 25% rise for the tracked period. Kiss and American International are the top two producers. Makeup applicators from Paris Presents also are tearing up the charts with almost 30% sales increases as women seek better tools to accomplish the new makeup looks.

What’s also hot are retailer efforts to seize the opportunities while trends are on fire. Walgreens Boots Alliance’s beauty differentiation strategy is going full throttle with 2,000 of the best beauty doors getting face-lifts and such merchandise as No7 and Soap & Glory. A new beauty consultant role is being added to help women with more complex beauty questions in store. People in this role will receive clinical skin care and makeover training, along with technology in the form of tablets to access information and tutorials. “She is being trained in a way we have never done before,” said Lauren Brindley, GVP and GMM for beauty and personal care.

The makeover comes with new fixtures and lighting to boot. Paramount is bringing products to market at lightning speed. “It used to take retailers like Walgreens or Boots six to eight months to launch a new product. In this world, we have to look at different ways to bring a product to market a lot faster or we are going to miss the trend. Sometimes we have to take more educated risks, be a lot more agile. I am pushing my team that we are going to have to think differently. We have to make sure we are providing her with what she wants,” she said.

Then there’s Walmart. Walmart sells 1.6 mascaras every second. That’s 49 million mascaras a year. But the corporation knows it is leaving dollars on the table since with its bustling environment, the beauty department isn’t always up to snuff. Merchandising the myriad items — the company has more than 1,700 different types of lip products — can be daunting. Polishing the beauty department is mission critical and the company is installing upgraded fixtures, better lighting and innovative products. It also is offering such services as Pick Up Today to bolster beauty.

CVS also has polished up its beauty department with a host of either exclusive or limited-edition brands, especially physician-created skin care. Some of the other owned brands include MUA Makeup Academy, Nuance by Salma Hayek and Enlite, which has bath and body sensorial items. As part of a program to elevate beauty, CVS also has more illuminated fixtures, wooden floors in some beauty areas and enhanced services. The chain also makes use of fixtures at the front of the beauty department, zeroing in on such key trends as travel sizes and brow kits. Next month, CVS will feature demonstrations of Kiss’ imPRESS nails.

Target is doing its share, too, with its end-of-aisle displays that tell mini category stories. Recently, the chain created endcaps devoted to textured hair, natural products and how to get a cat eye look.

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