Internet tops growth channels for US beauty products

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cent Internet Cosmetics

Sales of cosmetic and toiletry products over the internet have
continued to grow significantly, now representing a total of 4 per
cent of total sales, making it one of the fastest growing retail

For years industry experts have been tipping the internet as a huge potential source of revenues for the industry, but, consumers have been fairly slow to take up on it. Until now. A new report from the NPD group shows that four per cent, or approximately $1.7bn of the total $42bn US beauty spend is accounted for by sales derived from the internet. The report, Emerging Channels: Beauty Care Products Over the Internet, highlights the fact that now approximately one in ten women of all ages now confirms that they are making beauty purchases over the internet on a regular basis. These purchases include makeup, skincare and fragrances, for which the women surveyed in the report cited the number one reason for making their purchases over the internet as being 'convenience'. According to NPD, 74 per cent of the respondents said that it 'saves time' and 70 per cent said 'it's quicker and easier to shop online than a store'. "Consumers are more likely to research, choose and replenish beauty brands online. We find that women are less accepting of buying new brands over the Internet, but they are spending their money on brands they know and trust,"​ said Karen Grant, senior beauty industry analyst for The NPD Group. The report also highlights, that although use of the internet has traditionally been linked to younger age groups, older groups, namely the baby boomers, are fast cottoning on. Women aged 45-64 now make up approximately 41 per cent of the of the internet shopper base, compared to 36 per cent for women aged 18-34, and this older age group is set to become still more important in the coming years, the report states. The research finds that this is mainly down to income, with baby boomers generally having a larger expendable income than younger age groups. Indeed, speaking of all the age groups, 15 per cent of women with incomes of more than $75,000p.a. reported that they regularly made purchases over the internet, compared to 10 per cent for those with incomes of $35,000-44,000p.a., and only 7 per cent for those with incomes of less than $35,000p.a. "Like every other retail channel, the Internet has inherent challenges that must be better understood to fully leverage its power as it relates to beauty shopping,"​ Grant added.. "It's important to understand what drives consumer choice on the Internet. I believe where and how beauty is purchased is not an either-or scenario. It is the marriage of the in-store experience with the Internet that will secure the success for brands, manufacturers and retailers in the future."

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