The sale of prestige beauty products online in the UK reported an increase of 13% in the 12 months to the end of 2018 according to The NPD Group. Total beauty sales declined 1% compared to 2017, of which 100% of the losses came from the makeup category which declined 7% compared to 2017. On the other hand, fragrance and skincare finished positively for the year driven by double-digit growth online. The total value of the prestige beauty market in the UK was valued at £2.7 billion in 2018 (vs. £3 billion in 2017).
Online beauty boost
The market for online beauty products continues to grow with a wider range of businesses offering Click & Collect, next day and sometimes same day delivery. Amazon Now through its Prime subscription service offers a two-hour delivery service for a capsule range of beauty products in select postcodes.
Ecommerce now accounts for 20% of all sales value in the prestige beauty market, while Bricks and Mortar represents 80% of the market, a decrease of 4% compared to 2017.
“The high street market for prestige beauty has faced many challenges in 2018 from low consumer confidence, a decline in foot fall, businesses falling into administration and Brexit which have all compounded the financial woes on the high street. There are many positives here; Ecommerce is growing, and the high street has responded too, adapting its model to offer more experiential retail opportunities for customers,” says June Jensen, Director, NPD UK Beauty.
The high street retains relevance
The high street remains central to the prestige beauty market accounting for 80% of sales in 2018. High street sales of fragrance increased 1% in December 2018 vs December 2017 helped by a late surge during the week of Christmas Week (week 52) where Bricks and Mortar over performed 51% year-on-year.
According to The NPD Group, this demonstrates the continued importance of high street outlets and department stores, as prestige beauty relies on a hands-on, consultant-led approach with demonstrations, sampling, gift with purchase and make-up lessons all part of the retail mix.
“2018 certainly has been a year of upheaval on the high street, but prestige beauty retailers are resilient and are responding accordingly. Strong growth from fragrance late in the year demonstrates that there remains a significant demand for perfume on the high street. Sales were also helped by a late surge in last minute present shopping on Sunday and Monday pre-Christmas Day, and by consumers stocking up on their favourite scent in the Boxing Day sales. Naturally, strong growth online is good news for beauty brands, who are focusing on a multi-channel approach to reach their customer,” concludes Jensen.