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Beauty manufacturers need to embrace the internet to boost eCommerce sales

By Andrew McDougall , 13-Jun-2012
Last updated the 13-Jun-2012 at 12:17 GMT

Internet shopping and online research use for beauty products is fast becoming a common practice for consumers giving suppliers a major opportunity to increase their eCommerce sales.

According to a new report from analyst Brandbank, more and more women in the 18 to 35 age bracket are turning to the Internet to buy their health and beauty products online with two out of three women expecting to spend more online on health and beauty in the next 12 months.

The Brandbank 2012 Report on Health & Beauty quizzed 254 women aged between 18 and 35 living in the UK about their attitudes and behaviour when it comes to buying health and beauty products.

Online for research and purchase

According to Brandbank, 63 per cent of the women sampled expect to be buying more of their health and beauty products online in the next 12 months, with almost four in ten expressing an interest in mobile shopping apps for these products.

Seven in ten women aged 18-35 are already, to some degree, multichannel consumers; they are either already buying online or doing product research online before proceeding to buy in-store.

There appears to be a correlation between a woman's use of social media and the likelihood that she buys health and beauty products online.

Expectations not being met

The report also uncovered a range of consumer requirements and expectations that are not currently being met by eCommerce sites.

In particular, consumers are looking to manufacturers and retailers to do more to close a perceived gap between the experience of buying health and beauty products in-store versus online, as well as addressing the lack of consistency between different eCommerce sites and manufacturers' own web sites.

Different types of consumer

The report also highlights the potential opportunities available for beauty companies. It says there is huge potential for growth in online sales as women said they have bought more online in the last 12 months and expect to so again in the next year.

There is also potential to target consumers who research online but buy in-store, as the participants indicated that the internet shapes their interest in a product and that this may lead them to purchase online in the future.

Those that have not jumped on the online shopping bandwagon have suggested they might be interested in online if manufacturers could make products on eCommerce sites more appealing.

Some participant also admitted they did not shop for health and beauty online at least in part because the idea had not yet occurred to them.

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