Amazon breaks into luxury beauty retail

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Amazon breaks into luxury beauty retail
Amazon has just launched a new luxury beauty division for the US market, in direct competition with the online presence that luxury beauty retailer Sephora has already carved out.

Called Luxury Beauty Store, the online entry page has the same feel as the rest of the Amazon retail pages, with the company believing that the Amazon brand is enough to platform the new store without having to tweak the presentation to give a more up market feel.

Until now, the Amazon cosmetic and personal care offerings have focused more on the mass market, with price discounting being a key feature to attract customers.

It is for this reason that the luxury and prestige brands have tended to steer away from marketing their products on Amazon, as many companies feared that sharing a platform with discounted mass market products might detract from brand appeal.

Lots of luxury brands already on board

However, the new site makes a clear move away from the mass market brands, raising the bar to only allow names such as Burberry, Nars, Jack Black, Dr. Brandt and L’Occitane to market products on the pages.

So far a total of 24 brands are already marketing their products on the pages, with Amazon expecting more to follow suit if the pages resonate with consumers.

Navigation of the products is simple, with customers able to search out the products they want either by clicking on individual brand, or else searching by product category or a specific trend.

There are six principle categories: make-up, hair care, skin care, fragrance, men’s grooming and on trend products, and consumers can also search according to the best-selling products in individual categories.

Amazon vs Sephora

According to L2 ThinkTank, around 70% of beauty brands support beauty brands in the US, with an increasing percentage of this figure being attributed to luxury and prestige brands, which is part of a general move away from third party retailers.

Amazon is up against Sephora in the luxury online retail category, which is generally recognized as the number one player in the category in the markets where it is present.

Although Sephora does not reveal its revenues from online sales, in North America it is currently rated as the No 136 online merchant in North America, according to the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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