May 4, 2020

Are Luxury Beauty Sales The New Norm?

Over the course of the last three to five years the beauty industry and community has gone through many, many, many changes. I’ve seen blog focus migrate towards youTube and video tutorials, I’ve seen youTube’s numbers dropped with more focus on Instagram, and as of late even Instagram’s engagement is down with more focus on TikTok (which is absolutely crazy but oddly amusing and addicting).

During this time I’ve also seen the trend of purchasing anything full price was considered absurd as the market was so heavily saturated with releases that were simply not selling out as quickly as they once did. Sales on Urban Decay limited edition collections, Too Faced releases, Bobbi Brown, and more have been very, very common. We are completely conditioned to not pay full price on any release because we know within a week maybe two we’ll see items on sale for 20 to 25% off and even 50% off if we bide our time well enough.

I’ve been privy to the world of luxury fashion and accessories dramatically falling. Even those with disposable income won’t pay full price for technology, couture, etc….

But one of the newest norms I’ve noticed since around December is luxury makeup and beauty sales.

Price drops are pleasantness in the world of beauty but there are limits to what is on sale. Sales on brands like Tom Ford, Dior, Givenchy, and other luxury beauty brands aren’t as common as seeing brands like Urban Decay and Too Faced on sale. Since December of this year I’ve seen more and more niche fragrance and beauty on sale than every before.

I’ve seen so many sales on diptyque, Maison Francis Kurkdjian, and others the past few months my head is spinning. These are brands I’d never dream I’d see on sale and here they are 20 to 25% off. That’s unheard of.

Is this our new norm? I think it’s safe to say the next year is going to be an interesting one in the beauty world. Some of us will be going to back to work in the next month or so and others will have to look for a new job. It’s going to be a hard time for everyone and an interesting one. I think we’ll see a lot more releases in the beauty world because the lipstick index is alive and kicking during bad times.

What do you think?

Do you think luxury beauty sales will be the new norm?

Do you think beauty sales will go up or down during this weird time?

Do share!

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • kjh

    Afraid so. Somewhat, but not entirely tied to the failure of B+M. Nordie’s is in trouble and J Crew is gone. Covid was the last straw for many. But UHE…like Kurkdjian…surprise the heck out of me. Not sure I’ll ever mall again. Will rely on trusted opinions, like yours, and lines that have proven good for me. Brvave New World, and I admit I’m scared. Glad you’re ok and posting again.

  • Christina

    I don’t think it’ll be the new norm. I think that’s the way it’ll be for now until the economy picks up and returns to some semblance of normal, but I don’t expect to see luxury sales to this extent to last forever. Other brands like Tarte, Bobbi Brown, etc. will continue to be on sale like they normally are. At some point, I hope the industry stops releasing so much so quickly. It’s terribly wasteful.

  • Kish

    I think they will be. Over the last few months, even though my income has remained unchanged, I’ve had a lot of time to think. And I’ve come to the realization that i don’t need all this expensive stuff. I used to want the newest of everything, and now I just feel that it’s really wasteful. I’ll never use up all that I have. Why waste money on more when I could donate to the local food bank or shelter? This is a really rough time for so many, and I feel so selfish looking at $70 eye shadow or $100 face cream. Especially when I have so much already.

    Will my feelings change a year down the line? Two years? I don’t know.

  • Sarah

    This has been the norm in a lot of retail. I worked as a custom framer for a big box store for 5 years and in that time span we went from having our frames on sale 50% of the time at 40% off being our most common sale and 60% off being a one 2 week period sale once a year, to having a sale every week except for one month of the year and having 60% off 40% of the time. It’s all about increasing sales and just having the word SALE up increases people’s likely hood to buy because who can let 60% off slip by? The thing is, over those 5 years our base price increased to account for constant sales so in the end we were still making the same amount of profit from each customer, we were just increasing our volume of sales. I’d suspect it’s the same here and we’ll see a jump in prices with the increase in “SALES”.

    • mary

      Exactly what I thought. Is common knowledge that a lot of places increase their prices during big sale season (blackcfriday , boxing day etc) then they put the “sale” but it is the same price (sometimes even more expensive) than buying it on a normal day or out of season. Naturalizer is big on that you will see a pair of shoes on their sale section for lets sat $119 but as soon as they advertise “sale on sale” those shoes that were $119 suddenly they are $149 plus the sale price hahaha, companies never lose so you have to be really smart when buying sale. If anything this should be a wake up call for consumers , if a company hast 40 or 6p% off and still make a profit , you should understand how overpriced that item was to begin with.

  • Renee

    It certainly has seemed like there is no end to the sales, for the past couple of years even.
    Lately though, the sales seem to be caused by companies struggling and/or going out of business. As much as I love a good sale, that doesn’t make me happy.

  • Cil

    The thing with these luxury brands is that they are now owned by big corporations and these corporations want one thing… and one thing only… PROFIT!

    See the recent scandal with Deva curl products.

    Luxury brands are niche brands. Most of us don’t have the money for them. Some of us just won’t pay their outragenous prices. So, they sell to a selected few. This generate profits that are good when you are a sole owner, but they aren’t if you are part of any corporation such as LVMH or Estee Lauder.

    Let alone the fact that everyday brands improved their qualities over the years and there is a whole “natural” movement that these brands don’t cover. They have to compete in a saturated market with cheaper and good products.

  • kellly

    Personally, I think the Covid-19 quarantines have a lot to do with this. People aren’t able to get out and about and spending on everything, including luxury brands, is way down. I find it difficult to buy cosmetics without being able to see them in person. Photos online are professionally done, with lighting and swatches shown to look the most appealing. Will it look like that on me in real life? So companies have to come up with some way to move their products, and with shelf-life also an issue, sales make sense. Not sure if the sales will continue at the same rate once everybody gets out of quarantine and is able to go shopping in person again.

    • Jane

      I think that companies are really going to have to step it up in terms of swatches and sample sizes. Beauty bloggers just don’t swatch like they used to (there are so many fewer bloggers, and the other platforms of blogger seem to attract such startling sameness… young people with an eye to wearing heavily pigmented product and ring lights means I don’t know what the product looks or acts like) and honestly, for some of these big companies there is ZERO excuse for them not offering comprehensive swatching as well as a scale of how pigmented a product is, i.e., 0 for sheer to 5 for very pigmented.

      This is going to be a few years before we return to a world in which we can approach going out like we used to.

      This is really sad. Thanks for the thoughts, amuse.

  • Susan

    I do think it is the new norm. Once stores/brands have started the process of providing markdowns on high end products, they won’t be able to go back to full-price. Consumers won’t stand for it. It is a universal truth that once you give someone something, it is very difficult to take it back. Organizations have often found that out the hard way.

    When Sephora had their sale, I qualified for 15%. I bought nothing because I had been able to get much better deals on brands I buy – 25% off at Surratt, 20% off at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, SpaceNK, Pat McGrath and so on. I also scored a lot when Barney’s marked down all their cosmetics.

    I suspect these near constant sales have rendered Sephora’s business model obsolete. Their gifts are lousy, you have to spend a lot to qualify for a discount a couple times a year. Compare that to going to a site that just gives you the discount. No pre-qualifications.

    • kellly

      I totally agree with you about Sephora. I don’t even care about their program any more. It “rewards” you with miniature samples good for 2 or 3 uses. What kind of reward is that?

    • Jane

      Same. I only bought from Sephora what I couldn’t find elsewhere, and I’m annoyed that they’re so stingy with their discounts these days. I’m still sore at being bumped down from VIB to BI when they recalibrated their tiers a few years ago. So I just quit shopping there altogether for a few years because what was the point?

  • Julia

    Like everyone else, I have noticed that there has been an uptick in sales on recent releases for cosmetics and personal care in the last few years. Nordstrom Rack was the first place I really saw it happening and then Macy’s began to have their 15% off followed by Nordstrom doing their price-matching. Sephora’s 20% off used to be a once-in-a-blue-moon event and now it seems like this happens at least 2x a year but other brands have been doing steep markdowns that have similar discounts which makes Sephora less remarkable. What I have been taken aback by is the fact that Tom Ford is now on sale which does in fact seem to cheapen the brand a little bit. I know that so many brands are owned the same companies (the mini-scandal when the TF concealer was revealed the be the same as Smashbox but $20+ more) but to see products discounted so regularly certainly changes how I view them because the discounted price is probably closer to what their real price should be in the first place. Chanel has yet to be regularly placed on sale. Bergdorf Goodman has had 25% off regularly in this COVID period and Pat McGrath seems like she is always offering a discount of some kind which is incredible to me- I can’t understand how the brand is positioned anymore (I love the lip glosses so I liked the discount but still). Her website was on sale for nearly 3 weeks recently. I don’t know how brands can return to normal anymore because consumers are spending less (perhaps a reason for the steep discounts) and I sense some people just save until they know a sale will come up again. I think there are too many silly product releases- especially with brands like MAC or colourpop- that should be scaled back to focus on quality products that people might invest in. But who knows?