Online beauty sales double during lockdown

New findings from Kantar reveal that online beauty sales jumped by 100% during the three months to 31 May while stores were closed due to stay-at-home advice from Government.

With online beauty sales overtaking high street sales for the first time during this period, Kantar estimates that the beauty sector's shift to online has been accelerated by four to five years.

Non-essential retailers re-opened on 15 June but with 74% of people nervous about returning to public places, according to Kantar’s research, consumers are set to maintain online shopping habits adopted during lockdown.  

With restrictions on socialising and increased working from home reducing consumers’ need to get ready, sales in the beauty sector fell overall by 26% during the 12 weeks to 31 May 2020. However, certain parts of the market proved more resilient. Matthew Maxwell, strategic insight director at Kantar, says: “Sales of cosmetics among under 25s have shown the slowest decline, suggesting that these consumers are continuing to invest in their appearance for video calls and socially-distanced catch ups with friends and family. There could be an opportunity here for brands that market themselves for digital socialising, for example by including anti-blue light ingredients.

Sales of face masks, depilatories and hair colourants were up by 71%, 36% and 43% respectively during the four weeks to 14 June 2020 as the closure of salons inspired people to try treatments for themselves at home. Maxwell suggests that savvy shoppers may continue to invest in these products in the months ahead as they look to save money by avoiding salon visits.

With the future of retail uncertain as Covid-19 continues to be a significant concern, Maxwell suggests that retailers should capitalise on their new online shoppers and invest in their offering to them. “Our data tells us that just under half of customers feel overwhelmed by online choice. 28% of people told us they use bloggers and influencers for guidance but shoppers can be cynical of overt marketing, so good product information and peer reviews are vital to helping them select products confidently. Brands should also consider demographics that wouldn’t typically be associated with online shopping – over 55s increased their digital spend by £42 million over the last 12 weeks,” says Maxwell.

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