Is Amazon’s beauty dominance set to start in Germany?

By Lucy Whitehouse contact

- Last updated on GMT

Is Amazon’s beauty dominance set to start in Germany?

Related tags: Youtube, Video blogging

Germany is proving one country where Amazon appears to be finding its feet with beauty ecommerce, according to a new report by think tank L2.

The report, Beauty: Germany, outlines the current state of the digital beauty marketplace in the dominant European country, and notes that in terms of consumer enthusiasm, Amazon is making great strides in its bid to court the country’s cosmetics buyers.

With German beauty shoppers showing a greater inclination for mass brands and fast delivery, Amazon’s beauty initiative may have finally found solid ground in Germany,”​ the firm suggests.

However, the report notes there are several factors still holding up the company’s attempt to dominate in the digital sphere, including repeated strikes by its German warehouse, low product availability and German consumer distrust of companies recording their internet browsing data.

On the up

L2 notes that Amazon has made its beauty marketplace an attractive retail offering for German consumers, mimicking popular established retailers.

The Amazon ‘Beauty Trends’ section has the look and feel of a specialty beauty retailer like Sephora with a rich ecosystem of content catered to the beauty shopper,​” the firm’s analysts note.

The ecommerce giant has also been quick to adopt the power of beauty video blogging (or vlogging), a trend which has been enormously dominant in cosmetics marketing and retail in recent years.

“Amazon demonstrates its digital knowhow through best-in-class content like video tutorials and vlogger collaborations that easily connect to commerce. Despite its size, the e-commerce giant manages to localise content by partnering with popular German vloggers like MadameTamTam, who has more than 125,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel.”

The research firm notes that although currently many brands selling in Germany still favour local etailers, it predicts this is set to shift as Amazon takes the lead in coming years.

Culture clash

Despite this optimistic prediction for Amazon’s future in the German beauty retail sphere, L2’s report also notes there are potential pitfalls up ahead.

The company’s working conditions and business practices have clashed with those held as standard in Germany, with the result that since 2013, workers in Amazon’s German warehouses have gone on strike multiple times.

This clash of cultures [...] is continuing to cause fulfillment issues for Amazon - a major problem for a company that prides itself on fast and reliable delivery. Availability for beauty products is scarce.”

Digitally sensitive

Coupled with this, another attitude clash is causing tension: due to its history featuring represses surveillance, L2 notes, “the German public has developed a particular sensitivity to privacy concerns that extends to all aspects of digital”.

L2 reckons the way for brands to get around this distrust is to employ non-invasive digital strategies, a technique likely to prove crucial for those looking to tap into this lucrative market for digital beauty.

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