By Natallia Bambiza
Recently, a friend sent me a picture of a candle with a fun saying on the label: “When it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year #2020.” Did you just sing the Friends theme song in your head, too? As a big Friends fan, I had to have that candle immediately. It’s sitting on my desk as I write this. Do I light it often? Not really. It smells divine, but it’s definitely the connection to my favorite sitcom that enticed me to buy it, and that alone makes me smile.
I know I’m not the only one who has purchased a product or two (or more) for how it makes me feel, rather than its functionality. As a beauty enthusiast, I see that this is especially true when it comes to makeup. In fact, our research tells us that a quarter of makeup consumers in the U.S. look for makeup brands with fun packaging or advertising.
Collaborations are having a similar effect on makeup sales, driving consumers to buy a product because of the individual tied to it. For 2020, which definitely hasn’t been makeup’s year, staying in more often and wearing protective face masks when out has resulted in consumers using less color cosmetics. However, while the overall makeup market lost about one-third of its sales volume year to date through October, makeup collaborations declined at a much softer rate – in fact, their sales volume has been higher in 2020 than it was two years ago.
While brands might be cautious about which influencers to collaborate with, releasing collections around beloved shows and characters could draw positive engagement. In October, Ciaté London collaborated with Disney’s The Muppets and released a limited-edition Miss Piggy Collection. The products come in pink packaging and smell like donuts. In September, Makeup Revolution launched a Friends-inspired makeup line (and could the fans be any happier)? The line reportedly sold out of its palettes and lipsticks within five hours. While Makeup Revolution did not replenish that range, it launched a second line Nov. 4.
Another area of the market driven by something other than product functionality is advent calendars. That combination of fun and value makes us all feel good. The volume brought in by makeup advent calendars released and sold in September and October of 2020 has roughly tripled compared to the same two months in 2019. And makeup advent calendars are growing faster than skincare and fragrance advent calendars.
Throughout the pandemic, makeup has been in less demand than the rest of the beauty industry. However, while many makeup consumers are currently using less color cosmetics, 83% of those who use it less often due to the pandemic say that they will return to their regular routines once things get back to normal. For some, makeup will be incorporated into their day-to-day life to help bring back a sense of normalcy. But ultimately, makeup is the beauty category consumers turn to for fun, which we all need to lift our spirits every now and then.
Natallia Bambiza is manager and makeup category analyst of beauty for The NPD Group.