French beauty brands triumph in EU digital arena

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

French beauty brands triumph in EU digital arena

Related tags European union Yves rocher

French brands are surpassing their European counterparts when it comes to reaching consumers online. In fact, L2 has flagged Clarins, Yves Rocher and L’Occitane as leading the way in the EU's digital arena.

As the home to some of the world’s most iconic beauty and fragrance houses, France is often considered the epicenter of product and retail innovation across the sector.

According to market research firm L2, although online sales volumes are small, 30 per cent of French consumers indicate they have purchased make-up digitally—the highest percentage of any Western European country, suggesting the channel is growing.

France also leads European counterparts in site sophistication and direct-to-consumer (DTC) e-commerce adoption, although investments continue to trail the U.S. and Asia.

Beauty brands with 'Genius' to 'Feeble' ranking...

Clarins, Yves Rocher and L’Occitane were the only three brands to make it into L2's 'Genius' category for online brand presence and media optimisation.

In regards to digital, the status is awarded to companies that have creatively engineered messages that reach consumers on a variety of devices and in many online environments.

The market analyst also takes into account the effectiveness of a brand's site in terms of features like loading time, guided selling tool sophistication, videos search and navigation.

Cosmetics giant, L'Oreal missed out on the Genius category, but topped the list of 'Gifted' brands, which are acknowledged for experimenting and innovating across site, mobile, and social platforms. 

France makeup numbers

French specialist retailers are also dominating 

The French beauty market is dominated by specialist retailers (including Sephora, Marrionnaud, and Nocibé), which also actively compete in the online arena.

While 55 per cent of Index brands are sold on, 54 per cent on, and 49 per cent on, these specialists still trail, where 75 per cent of brands are available for purchase.

Despite Amazon’s apparent dominance, only 15 per cent of Index brands are listed as “Marques à L’Honneur,” granting featured status in the online retailer’s French Beauty Shop.

"This underscores the hesitancy of brands to fully engage on a channel that continues to exhibit gray market issues via third-party seller​s," L2 reps say.

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