In 2020, the UK cosmetics and toiletries e-commerce market surged 42% in value terms to €1.98bn (£1.7bn), up from €1.4bn (£1.2bn) in 2019, according to market research firm GlobalData. And this growth meant e-commerce now represented 14% of the cosmetics and toiletries UK market, making it the second-largest channel after hypermarkets and supermarkets that held a 30% value share.
“E-tailers have outpaced pharmacies and drugstores to take the second leading position,” said Nina Nowak, senior innovation researcher at GlobalData.
Speaking to CosmeticsDesign-Europe, Nowak said there had been “electric growth” in beauty and grooming e-commerce between 2019 and 2020 whilst market share in hypermarkets and supermarkets declined by 5.6% due to COVID-19 store closures and restrictions.
E-commerce beauty and grooming to hit €2.45bn in 2025
And GlobalData had forecast cosmetics and toiletries e-commerce growth to continue at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.1% between 2021-2025 to hit €2.45bn (£2.1bn).
Whilst Nowak said this meant e-commerce growth would “stabilise” over the next five years, the perceived consumer benefits that drove the 2019-2020 surge would remain important for future growth and opportunities.
“Several factors contribute to consumers’ interest in online shopping,” she said. Findings from GlobalData’s Q1 global consumer survey showed 66% of consumers said convenience was the main advantage of shopping online; 64% said it was the time-saving aspect; 42% said it was about lower prices; and 41% said minimal social contact was the main advantage.
Another 41% said variety and choice available was the key plus to e-commerce; a factor that gained importance when looking specifically at beauty and grooming where e-commerce tools that allowed customised shopping experiences had fast-advanced, Nowak said.
“…The advanced digital tools and apps that allow personalised product choice based on a ‘selfie’ image provided by a consumer are efficiently replacing an in-store experience,” she said.
Beauty boost – D2C or multi-brand online platforms?
Asked what area of UK e-commerce would prove most plentiful for beauty and grooming brands moving forward – direct-to-consumer sites or multi-brand platforms – Nowak said: “As the e-commerce landscape evolves, it is important for beauty brands not to rely exclusively on either multi-brand platforms or D2C sites, as these channels serve different consumer groups and preferences.”
Presence on a multi-brand platform, she said, was “vital in broadening the brand’s reach” because these sites catered to consumers seeking a wide choice and those who enjoyed browsing and trying new products. At the same time, she said D2C “could prove crucial in maintaining a loyal consumer base” because these sites …….