Import Facts: beauty consumers up spending on international ecommerce

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / (AzmanL)
© Getty Images / (AzmanL)

Related tags ecommerce International markets online

DTC brands as well as online shopping in general have benefited from lifestyle changes brought on by the pandemic. And now it’s also clear that cross-border ecomm is doing better in categories including skin care, fragrance, and color cosmetics, according to new data from ESW.

Online shopping got a real boost from the COVID-19 pandemic. Newly released survey data from the enterprise commerce company ESW shows that globally 52% of consumers “were motivated to buy online during the pandemic.” ​And here in the US, that figure was the same. (For contrast, 63% of consumers in South Africa and India turned to online shopping, in the UAE 56% and in China 53%.)

The company’s Global Voices: Pre-Peak Pulse 2021 survey included nearly 15,000 consumers in some 14 countries. And the data shows that luxury and beauty saw (and continue to see) a significant lift in cross-border purchases.

Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, President and CEO, Americas, of ESW, sees this shift as the beginning of next generation commerce, where brick-and-mortar showrooming, omnichannel consumer touchpoints, and digital transactions converge.

“Brands that understand the evolution of traditional retailing see the importance of blending their direct international e-commerce trading with their existing omnichannel structure,” ​he says in this week’s press release about the survey data.

“Stores of the future will be experiential meccas, where brands will espouse and reinforce the brand personas and experiences they are building on social media,” ​believes Bousquet-Chavanne. “But,” ​he adds, “the transactional engine for future growth has undoubtedly accelerated into digital channels, and it seems unlikely that trend will ever reverse.”

International beauty ecomm on the rise in 2021

Consumers’ inclination to buy online hasn’t been limited to brands based in the country in which they live. Perhaps due to travel limitations, an appetite for new product discovery, social media globalization, or something else entirely, ecomm consumers have been spending more on overseas brands in the past year and a half.

This is true across the board but also in beauty and luxury beauty spending. According to ESW data, in the past 6 months skin care accounted for 17% of overseas online spending, health and beauty for 17%, fragrance for 16%, and cosmetics for another 16%. And the company takes care to note that these and other popular purchases like footwear and apparel, what could be called “traditionally ‘high contact’ items that consumers would have previously validated in-store – either by trying on or testing them – proved the most popular type of cross-border purchases over the past six months.”

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