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The make-up category is booming. In many markets color cosmetics is seeing better growth than skincare and fragrance. In the US and the UK, for example, prestige make-up sales were up by 13% in 2015, according to market-research company The NPD Group. Even in Europe, where the market is tough, the category has reported solid growth, with prestige color sales up 4.4% in Germany and 8% in Spain last year.
Lipstick is responsible for much of the category’s growth, with a 3.7% increase in sales on a global level in 2015, according to Euromonitor International. Part of this growth is due to social media, with the trend for selfies encouraging consumers to use more lipstick -and make-up in general- to enhance their appearance, while online tutorials on how to apply products are also generating consumer interest in the category. But lipstick and make-up is also a category that major beauty groups are pushing, which has resulted in increased innovation. Indeed, new products can represent up to 20% of sales in the lipstick segment in some markets.
Focus on color & applicators
In terms of innovation in lipsticks, the focus is on highly pigmented color, but also on new types of applicators. Some major brands are coming out with cushion applicators for lipsticks, taking inspiration from the Korean trend for cushions in the foundation segment. LVMH-owned brand Givenchy for example, will unveil a Cushion Kiss lip gloss in April, while L’Oréal-owned Lancôme launched Juicy Shaker lipstick in February, which has a soft cushion applicator. Juicy Shaker, which must be shaken before application, has a bi-phase formula combining pigments and four nourishing oils. According to Lancôme, the lip oil provides high-shine and adjustable color intensity.
Also in terms of new applicators, French brand Chanel is launching a new lip product this month in the form of a pen with a non-retractable precision applicator called Rouge Coco Stylo. The new product is set to be a major color launch for the brand, and as well as offering more precise application, claims to have a hybrid formula that combines the intensity of a lipstick with the shine of a gloss and the comfort of a balm. Meanwhile, also for easy application, Estée Lauder Companies-owned beauty brand MAC launched its Velvetease lip pencil, which it claims delivers the color of a lipstick through a mechanical pencil that doesn’t need to be sharpened.
Pack design continues to be a major focus for the segment, as consumers see lipstick almost as an accessory. This was the case with the first lipstick line from shoe designer Christian Louboutin, which launched at the end of the year. The lipstick comes in a gold-colored tube, which can be worn as a necklace.
Also notable in terms of design is LVMH-owned brand Guerlain’s new lipstick to accompany its La Petite Robe Noire fragrance. The lipstick resembles the design of the fragrance bottle, and the formulas are scented with the La Petite Robe Noire fragrance.
Given the pace of new product development, increased investment in formulas, packs and advertising campaigns and the rise in social media, the lipstick market is set to see continued growth over the next year and beyond.