The online beauty market: State of play & major trends

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The cosmetics market is estimated to be worth over 483 billion euros, according to data from 2019. The largest consumers of cosmetic products regionally are: Asia (41%), followed by North America (28%), and finally, Western Europe (18%).

The development of e-commerce has accelerated this market’s growth but has also changed consumer habits. This is evidenced by the fact that more than 100 billion euros worth of purchases on e-commerce sites specializing in cosmetic products have been made. Globally, the beauty and cosmetics sector has been booming for several years, especially online.

The online beauty market is the 4th largest in terms of numbers of customers at the international level.

For several years now, the cosmetics market has been experiencing a paradigm shift: buyers are gaining confidence in online sales. As a result, consumers will seek information online (e.g., reviews, recommendations, comments and opinions, etc.) before buying a product.

🔹 Key Consumer Trends

New consumer trends are emerging that online businesses must adapt to.

With the increasingly high level of environmental awareness among consumers, the beauty market is one of the sectors most affected by a wave of “natural” products, and the trend of “ethical consumption.” In fact, the global natural cosmetics market could reach 48 billion US dollars in 2024.

Moreover, men are taking more and more care of themselves. Using the internet, and social networks in particular, budding cosmetics labels for men have emerged with the desire to redraw the boundaries in a market considered to be homogeneous, perhaps even unsuited to the new expectations of men.

Given that consumers, particularly “millennials” (18–34 year olds), are increasingly turning to e-commerce to buy cosmetics, the in-store experience still holds a privileged position, since it allows for products to be tried on-site. Because of this, 80.7% of global sales of beauty products are still made in stores.

Online shopping provides a broader selection, and removes the need to travel and the experience of waiting in checkout lines. These factors, combined with the influence of the internet on purchasing decisions will only further progress online beauty sales in the coming years, running the risk of seeping from in-store purchases. In fact, the web to-store shift occupies a prominent place for all these distributors.

4 out of 5 consumers buy a product as a result of seeing a recommendation on social media.

The presence and increased use of social networks (Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Tik Tok) play a role in the increasing online sales of beauty products. Indeed, thanks to these channels, consumers can find information, recommendations, opinions, and even tutorials on any given product. We also noted that more and more beauty brands now provide the option to try their products on their websites using augmented reality and virtual reality, i.e., Virtual Try Ons.

Today, it is all the more important to have a presence online in order to attract your customers, and you must also be able to adapt to new market trends and to provide the best possible customer experience.

To learn more, check out out complete study on the online beauty market!

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Naomi Botting

Communications Manager - UK/NORDICS