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.
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 sephora.fr, 54 per cent on marionnaud.fr, and 49 per cent on nocibe.fr, these specialists still trail amazon.fr, 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 sellers," L2 reps say.