Protective Face Masks Are Prompting Change in Beauty and Fashion Trends – and Making their Mark on Holiday, Reports The NPD Group

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Protective face masks have infiltrated apparel and makeup trends and, in the spirit of the season, holiday shopping lists.

Protective face masks have become part of the new norm throughout the U.S. Along the way, they have infiltrated apparel and makeup trends and, in the spirit of the season, holiday shopping lists. In fact, 31% of holiday shoppers plan to give masks as stocking stuffers or gifts this year, according to The NPD Group’s Annual Holiday Study.

In terms of how and where consumers are shopping for these masks, NPD’s Checkout data shows that e-commerce dominates dollar sales, but as stores reopened and more retailers entered the market with reusable options, e-commerce began to lose share. Warehouse clubs, specialty retailers, and mass merchants have been the primary gainers in this shift – providing consumers with more shopping and product assortment options for the holiday season.*

Impact on Beauty and Fashion
Covering the nose and lips, protective face masks place greater emphasis on the wearer’s eyes. Consequently, dollar sales of lip makeup declined faster than all other makeup products year-to-date through September versus last year. Compared to lip and face, eye makeup has seen the softest sales declines and gained market share. Under the mask, setting sprays, which may help consumers solve the problem of keeping makeup in place, grew by an average of 9% month-over-month.**

“While protective face masks focus attention on the eyes, we still want to keep the rest of our face looking good for when the mask comes off – not to mention keeping the mask itself free of smudges,” said Larissa Jensen, NPD’s beauty industry advisor. “Masks have created a shift in our beauty behavior, and elevated the categories that address the consumer’s new set of needs.”

Fashion that solves problems is what has won with consumers over the last few years. Jeans with stretch, leggings with pockets, activewear with moisture-wicking properties, and the reemergence of belt bags are some examples of innovation that has piqued consumer interest. Now faced with the challenge of carrying a protective face mask and keeping it clean, consumers have reason to seek another set of options.

“Beyond the protective face masks themselves, which have become the new fashion accessory in their own right, the fashion industry once again has an opportunity to employ innovation to address consumer needs that complement this latest addition to our wardrobe,” added Maria Rugolo, NPD’s apparel industry analyst. “If masks continue to be a more permanent part of society, at least for the near future, we expect to see continued innovation in how we carry these items. There could be a greater need for pockets, especially for men and a potential opportunity for cargo shorts and pants to come back into style. While no one knows how long masks will be part of consumers’ everyday lives, helping them navigate these times as easily as possible will go a long way.”

*Source: The NPD Group/ Checkout, May-September 2020
**Source: The NPD Group/ U.S. Prestige Beauty Total Measured Market, January-September 2020


About The NPD Group, Inc.
NPD offers data, industry expertise, and prescriptive analytics to help our clients grow their businesses in a changing world. Over 2,000 companies worldwide rely on us to help them measure, predict, and improve performance across all channels, including brick-and-mortar, e-commerce, and B2B. We have services in 19 countries worldwide, with operations spanning the Americas, Europe, and APAC. Practice areas include apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, books, B2B technology, consumer technology, e-commerce, fashion accessories, food consumption, foodservice, footwear, home, juvenile products, media entertainment, mobile, office supplies, retail, sports, toys, and video games. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter: @npdgroup.

NPD’s Checkout service offers robust data for tracking and improving performance across all channels plus buyer analytics to help businesses keep current customers and win new ones. Over 130,000 consumers, the largest omnichannel panel focused on general merchandise and foodservice, provide us with receipt-based information on their in-store and e-commerce purchases. With comprehensive data from the same consumers over time, Checkout illuminates trends in behavior including migration to shopping online by category and consumer demographics. Buyer analytics deliver insight into most valuable customers, brand loyalty, brand leakage / lift, brand launches, and more.

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