Online purchasing of beauty products on the up in US

Study says that e-commerce is now an integral part of the business of beauty

Global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney released the results of its study Beauty and the E-Commerce Beast: 2014 Edition, which lays out the results of a consumer survey of US online beauty and personal care shoppers.

The research found that e-commerce is now an integral part of the business of beauty, as 47% of survey participants stated that they purchased more beauty and personal care products online this year compared to last.

At USD$4.3bn and growing, online sales represent 6.5% of total market sales. The study found that some categories including skin care have above average e-commerce penetration compared to bath products or hair care, for example. A large difference in penetration also exists between prestige and mass, where penetration is estimated at 11% and 6% respectively.

The study also gives segmentation analysis of online shoppers, of which 50% are defined as 'creatures of habit' – those who purchase online to replenish items they have used before. As such, 38% of survey participants reported having subscribed at least once to a replenishment service offered by some online retailers. Convenience was cited as the main reason for the adoption.