Nail Polish Sales Are Up 70%: Is Lacquering Up the New 'Lipstick Effect'?

Everyone's heard that during a recession beauty product sales tend to go up--it's the so-called "Lipstick Effect." And if beauty product sales are a
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Everyone's heard that during a recession beauty product sales tend to go up--it's the so-called "Lipstick Effect." And if beauty product sales are a
Essie's new Sylenomics collection for Fall 2012

Essie's new Sylenomics collection for Fall 2012

Everyone's heard that during a recession beauty product sales tend to go up--it's the so-called "Lipstick Effect." And if beauty product sales are any indication, everyone's looking for a pick-me-up: Sales in practically every category are on the upswing.

Market research firm the NPD Group analyzed sales data from January to June of this year to figure out the best selling beauty categories and the most popular products within each category, WWD is reporting. In general, US beauty counter prestige sales (think the Clinique counter) were up 8% or $1.8 billion. Not too shabby, when you think about how sales in other areas, like magazines for example, are sucking pretty hard lately.

So what products are bringing in the most money?

Nails: While nails are the smallest segment within beauty, perhaps not surprisingly--at least to us!--nail products have had the most robust sales. Overall sales in the category are up 68%. Nail color is up a whopping 70% and top and base coats are up 100%. So don't expect those trendy top coats to go anywhere soon.

We've seen bigger companies launching massive nail polish lines--like MAC and most recently Maybelline--and would expect others to follow suit, which is great news for us nail polish addicts.

Palettes: Sales of makeup sets were up 19% or $61 million. And the best sellers? Urban Decay's stellar Naked and Naked2 palettes. Good neutrals are gold.

Lips: Sales in lippies were up 8% or $305million. Lipstick sales outpaced lip gloss, and the top three brands were MAC lipstick, Lancôme L’Absolu Rouge and Lauder Pure Color Lipstick. Experts attributed the increase in the category to an "injection of newness." We can't go to a launch these days without hearing about a new long-wearing or hybrid lipstick.

Eyes: Sales in eye products were up 5% or $512 million. Mascara, eyeliner, and brow products showed the highest increases.

Face: This category makes up a whopping 49% of all makeup sales, so any increase means a big ka-ching for beauty companies--in this case, it showed a 7% increase. The biggest appetite for consumers seems to be in long-wear foundation and multifunctional products.

The Bottom Line: Products that are entry-level into a brand--like in the $20 range--have showed the fastest growing sales, so expect more offerings of lipstick, nail products, and brow products.

What have you been buying at the beauty counter lately?