We have curated eight additional pieces of information, data, and/or statistics surrounding how COVID-19 has affected eCommerce within the beauty industry. This has focused on overall sales and the industry as a whole. We have also presented 2-3 (when available) specific beauty company eCommerce performance data points in Q3 of 2020 for eleven global beauty companies. When Q3 was not available or was redundant, we provided the most recent quarter results, and if the full year was reached, we presented that data. These performance data points, when possible, are directly related to their eCommerce beauty (color cosmetic) business. However, we want to emphasize that there were cases where eCommerce stats and color only stats were not available separately.
Beauty Industry: COVID-19 Effects on the Industry (eCommerce)
- Before the COVID-19 pandemic (2019 data), in most major beauty-industry markets, brick and mortar purchasing made up 85% of all beauty product purchases, with some shifts depending on the subcategory. When digging into age groups, those in the two generation cohorts of American millennials and Gen Z also purchased their beauty products 60% of the time in a store, rather than online. About 30% of the beauty-industry brick and mortar market was forced to shut down because of COVID. Some of these stores have been permanently shuttered, and new openings will likely be delayed for at least a year. This places eCommerce in a place that could see substantial growth.
- The decline in brick and mortar sales, while expected during COVID-19, are not being made up by increased online sales. “There are beauty-product brands that are reporting e-commerce sales twice as high as their pre-COVID-19 levels, but overall, McKinsey asserts that 20 — 30% growth will be more typical. According to this article in Glossy, Sephora’s US online sales are apparently up 30% year over year and Amazon’s beauty-product sales for the four-week period ending April 11 also reported that same percentage increase.” Looking at China, McKinsey research reveals that online revenues for beauty-industry players have increased between 20 — 30% during the pandemic.
- While there certainly has been an increase in eCommerce sales with beauty products since COVID-19, the main barrier beauty brands have encountered with selling online has been the inability for the consumer to test the products, to look at the colors, and to experience the feel of the product.
- When comparing high end nail polishes year over year, in the United Kingdom online sales of these products increased by twelve percent in the first week of March 2020 and continued on that upwards trend with the doubling of that figure after lockdowns were announced on March 23rd.
- While each beauty brand will have their own unique COVID-19 story to tell about the economic impact, overall the general data shows that while there has been a reduction in overall revenue, along with that there has been a significant increase in eCommerce sales. Shiseido is one example of this as they experienced almost a 96% free fall in net profits during Q1 of 2020, but they did experience an increase of 25% in online sales in China. When looking at the cosmetic behemoth Revlon, they saw their revenue dip just over 18% in Q1, but their online sales jumped by 47%.
- In the current climate, beauty “E-tailing” is doing extremely well. However, it is important to note that while lockdowns and stay at home orders have made it necessary for consumers to satisfy their cosmetic needs online, the demise of brick and mortar stores is not imminent. In fact, a study conducted by NPD Group in May 2020 reveals that almost 40% of consumers in the age cohort of 18-34 (Gen Z and younger Millennials) plan to buy beauty products to celebrate the end of lockdown and almost half (47%) say price promotion will be the key reason for shopping in-store.
- When comparing year over year beauty eCommerce sales in China, growth of 87% in June 2020 was seen, compared to $1.3 billion in 2019. Makeup sales increased 58% to $102 million. Makeup’s growth was less impressive compared to other categories such as skincare, fragrance, and hair care, as it was negatively affected by the coronavirus almost immediately. Mandatory mask wearing outside made it less likely that makeup would be applied. However, as most offices opened in China, and people started to get back to normal, makeup started to increase its growth. “The continued use of masks is evident by the notable shift in focus from traditional lip makeup (12% growth compared to June 2019) to eye makeup (159% growth compared to June 2019).”
- According to Stanley Kee, the Managing Director, APAC, The NPD Group, “[t]he e-commerce channel is likely to keep the fast growth rate in the coming months for beauty products. In fact, a recent China consumer sentiment study conducted by the NPD Group showed that 26% of Chinese consumers claimed they only purchase beauty products online. With another online festival, Double 11, scheduled for November, it is likely that sales from this event will help China experience record sales for the year.”
Beauty Industry: Company Performance Data Points
- This part of the research can be viewed in its entirety in this custom Google spreadsheet.
Beauty Industry: COVID-19 Effects on Consumers Purchasing Behaviors (eCommerce)
- During the pandemic NPD reports that 41% of consumers go online to get information on makeup products, making it the number 2 source of data. This is an increase of 4% from 2018. Online purchasing of makeup products sits at 49%, which is an increase of 8% over 2018.
- Platforms like Microsoft Teams as well as Zoom have created a demand for makeup that has “a high impact on video calls.” According to Spate, as working remotely becomes the “new normal”, consumers are seeking ways to present themselves better on camera. Bronzers especially are popular, likely because of their use with both men and women. Google search volumes indicate that between the middle of February to the end of March, Spate discovered that “bronzer” questions grew by 220% to reach 33,350 searches. “Face bronzer,” “face cream bronzer”, “face bronzer brush” and “face bronzer stick” are four of the most popular search terms used.
- Shoppers have had a change in purchasing behavior in Germany as a result of the pandemic. Half of all beauty shoppers surveyed admit their purchase decisions are influenced by promotions. For example, consumers reveal that free samples and free delivery for e-commerce are key criteria in the purchase decision. Additionally, 46% of beauty consumers report that they would go shopping without a specific product in mind.
- When looking at Spain, digital will gain importance among consumers. Online beauty sales have grown +420%, led by skincare and hair categories.
- According to Bluecore and its recently released Retail Data Dashboard, there was an average increase of 127% of online sales in June 2020 for beauty products year over year. The interesting part of this data showed that not very many of these sales were completed by 1st and 2nd time buyers. Compared to other categories, beauty has certainly seen the largest increase in sales but it saw the steepest drop in 1st time buyers (down sixty-seven percent from 2019) and 2nd time buyers (down sixty-nine percent from 2019). Consumers are also sticking with the stores and brands they trust the most when they are online shopping for beauty products.
- While consumers might be averse to trying new brands or new online retailers, they still investigate them. Consumers have been viewing beauty products 297% more over one week, and then popping them into their virtual cart 324% more often than in 2019.
- There has been a steady, and necessary, increase surrounding consumer comfort with shopping online for beauty products. According to Zoovu research, before the coronavirus, sixty-seven percent of consumers felt that brands needed to do more to help them with their purchase decisions online, and they understandably reported that they preferred visiting a physical store to decide on a purchase. [Free download of the research is required] Now that most global consumers are seven months into depending upon eCommerce to purchase products, there is just more familiarity with the online shopping journey. Many of these beauty buyers will have adapted and discovered the brands and retailers who gave them a stress-free online shopping experience that made finding the right beauty product for them easy and fast. Those will be the brands these consumers will be loyal to purchase from, and they will also be the brands that set the bar for others that are still playing eCommerce catch-up.
- Towards the beginning of the pandemic, Red Points’ report Impact of COVID-19 on ecommerce sales [Free download of the report is required] found that 73% of shoppers were likely to increase online purchases compared to in-store if COVID-19 continued to be a problem. Needless to say, the pandemic continued and many shoppers did just that. Brands that were already positioned to ride the wave of increased ecommerce have seen significant growth. The eCommerce boom, the spike in cosmetics products sales and the shift in consumer behavior has brought opportunities and challenges to the beauty industry. “Post COVID-19, beauty-industry players will need to prioritize digital channels even more to capture the attention of customers.”
- “Provoke Insights reports that makeup is selling at a higher rate online. Thirty-four percent of Americans have bought makeup through an eCommerce site in the past three months, up from twenty-nine percent before the pandemic.” When digging into generational cohorts, Millennials are buying the most make-up currently.
- “Recent Opinium research reveals that twenty-five percent of Americans have reported that they are wearing less color cosmetics (foundation, blush, lipstick, eyeshadow) in lockdown. Of those who are using make up less often, thirty-five percent feel relieved that they don’t have to wear it anymore, while almost forty percent are enjoying feeling like a more natural version of themselves. Fifteen percent of Americans expect to continue wearing less make up, suggesting a potential longer-term impact on beauty standards.”