Beauty and the Online Beast


There is no doubt that customers shopping habits have changed significantly over the last few months and this surely will be reflected in the purchasing of cosmetics. The purchasing of cosmetics was previously a very tactile experience including samples, touching, testing and smelling. The mechanisms for increasing sales was a very personable approach with instore consultations and make-up demonstrations. This is not currently part of our new normal purchasing experience and now more than ever vlogs, blogs and customer reviews will replace this type of person on person sales technique.


In 2019  E-Commerce Cosmetics Trend research published by Photoslurp and Zinklar showed that on average 83,6% of women in the UK purchased cosmetics online. This is a significant market for retailers. The majority of women in the UK between the ages of 16 and 24 were shown to have purchased cosmetics online which is proportional to the popularity of online platforms for this age bracket but the popularity of online purchasing extended beyond this age category with over 80% of women in each age category between 25 and 54 going online for their beauty needs.




In the survey 19,5% of women indicated that they bought cosmetics online a few times a month, 22,3% bought cosmetics online once a month and 34.8% every few months. These numbers have considerable room for growth when you consider the increased popularity of online shopping combined with the government request to only go to shops for essential items. Now many women view cosmetics as essential items but when you have the option of limiting your time shopping under the new normal then it is far easier to look for your beauty products online then to walk through the aisle of your local grocery shop, indeed these products are limited in their availability unless you are also queuing for essentials at your pharmacy but no one wants to spend more time than necessary there.


The most regularly purchased beauty products that are purchased online are lipstick and masks, these are items where it is not unusual to purchase multiple styles and types and they are more likely to be used up in a relatively quick period of time which allows for the highest product turnover. Eyeshadow, eyeliner, concealer, foundation and make-up remover are the next most regularly purchased followed by primer, blush and setting powder.



In 2019 the Superdrug website was the most popular online platform for cosmetic purchases for those customers who regularly purchased beauty products online.  Amazon was the preferred platform by 22,7% and eBay by 13,2% of women who regularly purchase cosmetics online.  There is scope for an increase in both Amazon and eBay given the popularity of both for other online products this is where online sales management services in the UK is particularly important. If handled correctly  these platforms can also tap into the importance buyers of cosmetic products online attach to returns policies and free delivery.