Study Reveals Increase In Online Shopping For Beauty And Personal Care Items

According to a recent study from A.T. Kearney, a global management consulting firm for consumer-facing industries, e-commerce is thriving within the beauty category. With 47% of those consumers surveyed stating they shopped online more this year than last, shopping habits seem to be changing in personal care categories, the research indicated.

For an industry that has traditionally relied on a shopper’s ability to touch, smell and test products in person, this increase reflects a shift in the consumer’s confidence to purchase experiential products, such as fragrance and color cosmetics. Armed with more information than ever, consumers are utilizing online retailers, such as Amazon, which hosted 73% of those shoppers surveyed, for a wider variety of their purchases. Typically, shoppers in this category simply replenish their tried and true items. In the shopper survey, Amazon was followed by Walmart (42%) and Sephora (35%).

“Beauty online is so much more than just a transaction,” said Hana Ben-Shabat, A.T. Kearney partner and co-author of the study. “It is in fact one of the most active categories on the Internet. So online is becoming one of the most important paths to purchasing.”

However, with $4.3 billion in sales, e-commerce still represents only 6.5% of total sales in this sector— leaving the study’s authors to note that while the store remains the main channel for beauty and personal care purchases, it is still important for brands to rethink their in-store experience, such as shelf planograms, retail staffing and the integration between online and in-store experiences.