Online boost to prestige beauty in 2018

Digital sales of high end beauty products have seen a massive increase over the last year.

Online sales of prestige beauty products increased 13% in 12 months, according to new research by The NPD Group.
By the end of 2018, the total value of the prestige beauty market in the UK was valued at £2.7 billion, with the market for online beauty products continuing to grow as a result of speedier delivery processes such as Click & Collect and next/same day delivery. 

Fragrance and skin care also finished positively for the year, driven by double-digit growth online, while total beauty sales declined 1% compared to 2017, with 100% of these losses coming from cosmetics (which declined by 7%). 

The power of high street sales

Despite the boost of online purchases, the high street remains central to the prestige beauty market, accounting for 80% of sales in 2018. This demonstrates the continued importance of high street outlets and department stores as prestige beauty relies on a hands-on, consultant-led approach, with demonstrations, sampling, gift with purchase and make-up lessons all part of the retail mix.

“The high street market for prestige beauty has faced many challenges in 2018, from low consumer confidence, a decline in foot fall, businesses falling into administration and Brexit, which have all compounded the financial woes on the high street,” says June Jensen, director of NPD UK Beauty. “However, prestige beauty retailers are resilient and are responding accordingly. 

“Sales were helped by a late surge in last-minute present shopping on Sunday and Monday pre-Christmas Day, and by consumers stocking up on their favourite scent in the Boxing Day sales. Naturally, strong growth online is good news for beauty brands, who are now focusing on a multi-channel approach to reach their customer.”