Online beauty sales soar during lockdown, Kantar reports

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New Kantar findings show that online beauty sales jumped 100% during the 12 weeks to 31 May 2020 while stores were closed due to stay-at-home advice from Government. The uplift saw more people than ever before, 8.7% of the population, shop for beauty products online in May, overtaking the high street for the first time.

Non-essential retailers re-opened on 15 June but with 74% of people nervous about returning to public places, consumers are set to maintain online shopping habits adopted during lockdown. Matthew Maxwell, strategic insight director at Kantar, comments: “In normal times, around 4.7% of the population typically shopped for beauty on the web. We estimate that the pandemic has now accelerated the sector’s shift to online by four to five years, with both traditional retailers like Boots and Superdrug as well as internet specialists like Feel Unique, Look Fantastic and All Beauty seeing online sales rise.

“Retailers should capitalise on new online shoppers and invest in their offer to them. Our data tells us that just under half of customers feel overwhelmed by online choice. 28% of people told us they use bloggers and influencers for guidance but shoppers can be cynical of overt marketing, so good product information and peer reviews are vital to helping them select products confidently. Brands should also consider demographics that wouldn’t typically be associated with online shopping – over 55s increased their digital spend by £42 million over the last 12 weeks.”

With restrictions on socialising and increased working from home reducing consumers’ need to get ready, sales in the beauty sector fell overall by 26% during the 12 weeks to 31 May 2020. However, certain parts of the market proved more resilient. Maxwell continues: “Sales of cosmetics among under 25s have shown the slowest decline, suggesting that these consumers are continuing to invest in their appearance for video calls and socially-distanced catch ups with friends and family.  There could be an opportunity here for brands that market themselves for digital socialising, for example by including anti-blue light ingredients.

“We also saw sales of face masks, depilatories and hair colourants up by 71%, 36% and 43% respectively during the four weeks to 14 June 2020, as the closure of salons forced people to have a go at home. With people’s minds likely to turn to their finances in the months ahead, we could see savvy shoppers choosing to save money by sticking with these do-it-yourself kits over salon visits.”