New study finds that consumers are opening up to online beauty purchases

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Online shopping, Retailing

A new study looking at online beauty purchases in North America finds that the majority of consumers now regularly shop online for cosmetics and personal care products.

The report was compiled by A.T. Kearney Global Consumer Institute; called Beauty and the Beast, and is a summary of findings from an e-commerce survey that questions the online beauty consumer spending patterns of 1,381 participants in all the US states and Canada.

Aimed at highlighting the latest consumer trends for both beauty brands and retailers, the study questioned consumers online shopping habits and assesses how the channel is evolving.

Around 60 percent of consumers shop online for beauty products

According to the survey findings approximately 62 percent of beauty consumers in North America now shop online regularly, while 60 percent of those questioned said that they purchase beauty and personal care products online.

"The world of e-commerce has been for quite some time ‘The Beast’ that beauty retailers and brands were trying to avoid,”​ said A.T. Kearney partner and study leader Hana Ben-Shabat.

“We are at the point where we have to ‘beat the beast.’ There is simply too much at stake if businesses do not address this opportunity,"​ Ben-Shabat added.

The researchers estimate that online beauty sales in North America now account for $3 billion in annual sales, which is approximately 5 percent total penetration of the beauty category as a whole.

Online channels give beauty brands more reach

This figure underline the importance of the online channel, and according to the researchers, it particularly gives the bigger brands the opportunity to extend their roles as ‘category captains’ on retail websites.

However, the report also underlines the importance of maintaining control over brand image and integrity when marketing. This means that brands should give retailers strict criteria for online retailers to use in the marketing of their products.

The report also identifies that consumers are very specific in their online beauty purchases, with the researchers finding that they are invariably creatures of habit, who know what they are looking for, often making repeat purchases.

Online consumers are discerning

They are also price sensitive and highlight convenience as other reasons why they make their beauty purchases online.

Meanwhile, the online beauty space in North America tends to be dominated by a handful of bigger players, with 46 percent of the survey responses stating that Amazon and Sephora are amongst their favorite online sites.

These online retail channels live up to consumer expectations for a seamless e-commerce platform, that is ‘a place where consumer can find what is offered in stores and more’.

Related topics: Market Trends

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