When it comes to holiday gift exchanges, my friends know what to expect from me: beauty products, of course! While my professional role in the industry might impact my gift choices, I know I’m not alone in turning to beauty products for gift ideas. The uptick in sales we typically see during the end of the year, through Circana data, proves just that. Which category will win the 2023 holiday season, however, still remains a question.

Makeup is the strongest performing category in the U.S. prestige beauty market this year, though skincare is close at its heels. In fact, looking at month by month sales performance, skincare’s growth has actually been outpacing makeup since May – meaning that skincare could conceivably end 2023 as the top performing beauty category. The final result will come down to the wire, on which category will shine brightest this holiday season.

As the holiday season gets underway, makeup’s festive popularity is certainly glowing. According to Spate’s TikTok hashtag tracker for the week of November 12, eight of the top 10 beauty hashtags ranked on week-over-week growth were makeup-related. Among them were “black Christmas nails,” which topped the list, and “Christmas eyeshadow,” which closed the top five. Historically, the fourth quarter (Q4) accounts for the largest share of prestige beauty product sales. Last year, the highest increase in share points, versus Q3, came from fragrance and makeup — a trend that is more evident in the prestige market, but also holds true in the mass channels. 

As makeup and skincare go head-to-head in the final weeks of the year, the top-performing category of 2023 will largely depend on the holiday season sales results. But one thing is for certain: the beauty industry, as a whole, has been sparkling all year and so we can feel confident that this will continue through the rest of the year. The weeks of Black Friday and Cyber Monday were a great indicator, as prestige beauty was the only industry to grow sales by double-digits during those two weeks, according to Circana. I, as a shopper, certainly contributed to this growth and I hope you did, too. Happy holidays!

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