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Cosmetic Innovation GlobalRadarJust the numbers: lash wars – mascara vs false eyelashes

Just the numbers: lash wars – mascara vs false eyelashes

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In 2008, mascara was credited with making up for the weakness in other categories. Fast-forward to today: mascara is on the decline and many new color brands have skipped the category altogether. 

Huda Beauty sells 23 types of false eyelashes, both faux and mink, but not a single tube of mascara. Fenty Beauty, Kylie Cosmetics, and Anastasia Beverly Hills have also skipped the product in their assortments. Mascara has been a staple in women’s daily beauty routines for decades, but false eyelashes, lash extensions, and lash tinting are quickly replacing the beauty basic.

• Mascara sales have dropped 7% since 2016, from $916 million to $851 million in 2019. Unit sales of mascara have fallen 15% over that period.

• Sales of false lashes (and related products such as kits, glue, and applicator) have surged 82% since 2016, to bring in $313 million in annual sales in 2019, according to Nielsen. Unit sales of false lashes and related products have jumped 39% in that period.

• In department and specialty store cosmetics sales, mascara sales are also down 5% year-to-date through November 2019 to over $500 million, while false eyelash sales were up 15% in that same period to $66 million, according to NPD Group.

• According to market research firm Euromonitor International, mascara’s slice of the $445 billion global beauty market was worth more than $8 billion in sales in 2017 (making it one of the biggest categories), although sales are predicted to drop from 4% to 2% in the next three years.

• According to SEMrush marketing analytics, searches for “mascara” declined by more than 18% between February 2018 and April 2018, and have remained down.

• Google 2019 search trends capture spikes in traffic over a period of time compared to the previous year in the US. Fake lashes ranked second on their top-ten list of beauty searches.

• The lash extension market is expected to generate nearly $1.5 million by 2022, according to Fact.MR.

• According to Statista, in 2019, L’Oréal Voluminous was the most purchased mascara brand in the United States with sales of approximately 77.4 million US dollars. The L’Oréal Voluminous Lash Paradise was ranked second, with sales of around 73.3 million US dollars.

Clare Hennigan, Senior Beauty Analyst with market intelligence firm Mintel, told CNN, “Mascara is still the most used color cosmetic product. But we have seen a stagnation in mascara sales as false lashes become very popular.”

“There’s a two-part story to this,” said Hennigan. “Millennial consumers are embracing false lashes because they want their look to be Instagram ready.” On the other end, she said younger consumers are preferring a low-maintenance, no-hassle look. They’re picking false lashes over applying and removing mascara every day. Some are forgoing mascara completely as they prioritize skincare over makeup. “This is an opportunity for mascara brands to stay ahead of the curve and better compete against these trends,” she said.

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