Online beauty sales poised to grow

Mintel’s recent Beauty Retailing report reveals the female baby boomer population is more web-savvy than ever, and they could be wielding their digital dollars at online beauty sites if retailers play their cards right.

One in 10 respondents to a recent Mintel survey report using some type of online retailer to purchase cosmetics and skin care aids, and the female boomer population is expected to increase by 30.9% from 2005-2015.

“Female baby boomers are one of the largest beauty care segments, known for their spending power, proactive health habits and dedication to product research,” said Kat Fay, senior analyst at Mintel. “In fact, these women spend 13 or more hours online a week, making the online market a powerful resource if retailers can get boomers to log on.”

When looking strictly at online sales, 8% of those surveyed visit mass merchandiser sites for beauty products, 8% order from, 8% order from, 5% patronise drugstore sites like CVS or Walgreens and 8% visit other unnamed online retailers.

The creativity of online beauty retailers has also contributed to the continued growth of the Internet market. “Innovations like virtual makeovers, new product Tweets and online-only sweepstakes draw in consumers and provide them with benefits and discounts they can’t find in an actual brick-and-mortar store,” Fay said.

Forty-seven percent of survey respondents reported they prefer to be left alone when shopping for cosmetics, which suggest they want to take the time to browse and don’t want to be pressured by excessive attention. Shopping online allows you to browse without interruption.

With the continued popularity of Twitter, Facebook and Videoegg, beauty retailers can utilise social networking platforms to measure consumer preferences and tailor their sites to appeal to online shoppers.

According to Mintel, the online market will continue to grow, as nearly every retailer has a website, from Wal-Mart and Walgreens to Saks Fifth Avenue and Sephora.