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Key points included

  • Interest in sustainability will impact the online beauty market
  • Tapping into research as an integral part of the online purchase journey
  • Retailers need to offset intense price competition in the online beauty market

Covered in this report

The online beauty market has continued to perform well and growth is outstripping the wider beauty and personal care market. In 2019, Mintel estimates that online sales of beauty and grooming products will increase by 11.4% to £1.5 billion, with similarly robust growth forecast in 2020.


The online beauty market however is undoubtedly challenging. Price competition is intense as low prices are a primary reason for buying beauty and grooming products online. Meanwhile, as interest in sustainability is rising, retailers are likely to face more scrutiny in future and pressure will mount on those that do not fulfil online orders in an eco-friendly manner

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Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Samantha Dover, a leading analyst in the Retail sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The online beauty market has benefitted from a desire amongst consumers to experiment with new brands and products. However, competition is intense and the prolific discounting is expected to subdue market growth in future as consumers now expect to buy beauty and grooming products at a discounted rate when shopping online. Retailers therefore now need to restore their price integrity and give consumers other reasons to buy beauty and grooming products online Samantha Dover
Senior Retail Analyst

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What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Online beauty market set to grow 11.4% in 2019
              • Figure 1: Best- and worst-case forecast for online consumer expenditure on beauty products, 2014-24
            • Online-only retailers increase market share
              • Figure 2: Retail share of online consumer expenditure on beauty products, 2019 (est)
            • Companies and brands
              • Personalisation is paramount
                • The rise of social shopping
                  • The consumer
                    • Store-based retailers are dominant
                      • Figure 3: Types of retailers used to purchase beauty/grooming products online in the last 12 months, August 2019
                    • Most research ahead of purchase
                      • Figure 4: Sources of research when purchasing beauty/grooming products online, August 2019
                    • Consumers are looking for product information
                      • Figure 5: Reasons for researching ahead of making a beauty/grooming purchase online, August 2019
                    • Price comparison is rife
                      • Figure 6: Participation in online beauty/grooming activities, August 2019
                    • Trust in reviews is driven by volume
                      • Figure 7: Online beauty/grooming shopping behaviours, August 2019
                    • Online will not replace physical stores
                      • Figure 8: Attitudes towards shopping online for beauty/grooming products, August 2019
                    • What we think
                    • Issues and Insights

                      • Retailers need to offset intense price competition in the online beauty market
                        • The facts
                          • The implications
                            • Interest in sustainability will impact the online beauty market
                              • The facts
                                • The implications
                                  • Tapping into research as an integral part of the online purchase journey
                                    • The facts
                                      • The implications
                                      • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                        • Online continues to outpace the wider market…
                                          • …but a significant slowdown is forecast
                                            • Non-specialists are losing market share
                                              • The reasons for and against shopping online are complex
                                                • Device ownership is shaping the beauty retail landscape
                                                  • Social media’s influence on purchasing
                                                  • Market Size and Forecast

                                                    • Online beauty sales have doubled since 2014
                                                      • Figure 9: Market size and forecast for online consumer expenditure on beauty products, 2014-24
                                                    • Growth in the market in slowing
                                                      • Figure 10: Best- and worst-case forecast for online consumer expenditure on beauty products, 2014-24
                                                    • Forecast methodology
                                                    • Channels to Market

                                                      • Beauty specialists are gaining share
                                                        • Figure 11: Retail share of online consumer expenditure on beauty products, 2017-19 (est)
                                                      • The department stores are struggling
                                                        • Figure 12: Retail share of online consumer expenditure on beauty products, 2019 (est)
                                                    • Market Drivers

                                                      • Rising internet access boosts the online beauty market
                                                        • Figure 13: Household internet access, 2009-18
                                                      • Smartphone ownership is changing the way we shop
                                                        • Figure 14: Personal device ownership, June 2019
                                                      • Social media is a powerful tool
                                                        • Figure 15: Frequency of social network usage, March 2019
                                                      • Declining footfall reflects changing shopping habits
                                                        • Figure 16: Change in UK retail footfall, by location, January 2018-September 2019
                                                      • Low prices are driving beauty buyers online
                                                        • Figure 17: Why beauty and personal care consumers shop online, November 2018
                                                      • Enjoyment keeps people shopping in-store
                                                        • Figure 18: Why beauty and personal care consumers don’t shop online, November 2018
                                                      • A need to engage older consumers
                                                        • Figure 19: Trends in the age structure of the UK population, 2016-26
                                                      • Declining print magazine market will boost online content consumption
                                                        • Figure 20: Types of magazines read in the last 6 months, October 2018
                                                    • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                      • Personalisation becomes more sophisticated
                                                        • Merging the online and offline experience
                                                          • Social media sites strengthen ecommerce offer
                                                            • Sustainability is becoming more important
                                                            • Innovation and Launch Activity

                                                              • New retailer puts a spotlight on sustainability
                                                                • Figure 21: SUST beauty homepage, November 2019
                                                              • Seizing the untapped potential of beauty reselling
                                                                • Online-only brands move into the real world
                                                                  • New platform encourages price comparison
                                                                    • Figure 22: Cosmetify homepage, November 2019
                                                                  • More retailers experiment with AR
                                                                    • Figure 23: John Lewis Virtual Lipstick Experience, April 2019
                                                                  • Personalisation in the online beauty world
                                                                    • Online advice is becoming more advanced
                                                                      • The rise of digital diagnostics
                                                                        • Social shopping
                                                                          • Voice commerce is the next frontier
                                                                            • Delivery gets a speedy makeover
                                                                              • Lush UK becomes a social media recluse
                                                                              • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                • Young consumers are driving the market
                                                                                  • Most research ahead of purchase
                                                                                    • Product reviews are influencing what people buy
                                                                                      • Price comparison is a mainstream activity
                                                                                        • Retailers have an opportunity to offer more grooming advice
                                                                                          • Stores remain important to many consumers
                                                                                          • Where Consumers Shop

                                                                                            • Most now shop online
                                                                                              • Online-only retailers are popular
                                                                                                • Subscription box usage remains low
                                                                                                    • Figure 24: Types of retailers used to purchase beauty/grooming products online in the last 12 months, August 2019
                                                                                                  • Young consumers are driving the shift online
                                                                                                      • Figure 25: Any purchase of beauty/grooming products online in the last 12 months, by age and gender, August 2019
                                                                                                    • Channel loyalty is relatively strong
                                                                                                        • Figure 26: Repertoire of the types of retailers used to purchase beauty/grooming products online in the last 12 months, by gender, August 2019
                                                                                                    • Research Ahead of Purchase

                                                                                                      • Consumers are doing their homework
                                                                                                        • Figure 27: Sources of research when buying beauty/grooming products online, August 2019
                                                                                                      • Young consumers are researching in-store
                                                                                                        • Figure 28: Sources of research when buying beauty/grooming products online, by age, August 2019
                                                                                                      • Products reviews are important
                                                                                                        • Figure 29: Reasons for researching products ahead of making an online beauty/grooming purchase, August 2019
                                                                                                      • An opportunity to tap into interest in ingredients
                                                                                                        • Figure 30: Reasons for researching products ahead of making an online beauty/grooming purchase, by age, August 2019
                                                                                                      • Online is an important source of product information
                                                                                                        • Figure 31: Sources of research when buying beauty/grooming products online, by reasons for researching ahead of purchase, August 2019
                                                                                                    • Online Beauty and Grooming Activities

                                                                                                      • Savvy shoppers are comparing prices
                                                                                                        • Figure 32: Participation in online beauty/grooming activities, August 2019
                                                                                                      • Few consumers are utilising AR technology
                                                                                                        • Young adults are more active online
                                                                                                          • Figure 33: Any participation in online beauty/grooming activities, by age and gender, August 2019
                                                                                                        • Most are not engaging in online beauty or grooming content
                                                                                                          • Figure 34: Repertoire of participation in online beauty/grooming activities, by gender, August 2019
                                                                                                      • Online Shopping Behaviours

                                                                                                        • Discount codes encourage impulse purchases
                                                                                                            • Figure 35: Online beauty/grooming shopping behaviours, August 2019
                                                                                                          • Men want advice from retailers
                                                                                                            • Figure 36: Online beauty/grooming shopping behaviours, by gender, August 2019
                                                                                                          • Young consumers want to see how a product will look
                                                                                                            • Figure 37: Online beauty/grooming shopping behaviours, by age, August 2019
                                                                                                        • Attitudes towards Shopping Online

                                                                                                          • An ongoing preference for physical stores
                                                                                                            • Figure 38: Attitudes towards shopping online for beauty/grooming products, August 2019
                                                                                                          • Women are overwhelmed by the choice online
                                                                                                            • Figure 39: Attitudes towards shopping online for beauty/grooming products, by gender, August 2019
                                                                                                          • Young consumers are distrustful of brands created by social media stars
                                                                                                            • Figure 40: Attitudes towards shopping online for beauty/grooming products, by age, August 2019
                                                                                                        • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                            • Abbreviations
                                                                                                              • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                • Forecast methodology

                                                                                                                About the report

                                                                                                                This report will give you a complete 360-degree view of your market. Not only is it rooted in robust proprietary and high-quality third-party data, but our industry experts put that data into context and you’ll quickly understand:

                                                                                                                • The Consumer

                                                                                                                  What They Want. Why They Want It.

                                                                                                                • The Competitors

                                                                                                                  Who’s Winning. How To Stay Ahead.

                                                                                                                • The Market

                                                                                                                  Size, Segments, Shares And Forecasts: How It All Adds Up.

                                                                                                                • The Innovations

                                                                                                                  New Ideas. New Products. New Potential.

                                                                                                                • The Opportunities

                                                                                                                  Where The White Space Is. How To Make It Yours.

                                                                                                                • The Trends

                                                                                                                  What’s Shaping Demand – Today And Tomorrow.

                                                                                                                Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted.

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