Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Beauty Buys Growing Online

Ecommerce sales of Beauty products are poised for rapid growth. According to global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, one of the biggest drivers of online sales growth in the Beauty category, shoppers simply like the buying experience more. Plentiful information, interactive tools, and increasingly generous shopping and return policies have made shopping for Beauty products online as fun as, if not more fun than, buying in-store. So while most estimates show online sales penetration in the Beauty category at less than 10% (vs. Electronics, which is somewhere north of 30%), this number is on the rise.

We analyzed 14 million online Beauty transactions representing nearly $1.5 billion in sales over the period from March 1 – April 30, 2016 to understand the distinct behavior of beauty shoppers online.

Here’s what else we discovered…

What’s in her bag? 

A woman’s bag or beauty drawer often has an astounding assortment of products. The purchasing data for Beauty items shows an equally varied mix. Beauty Tools, Hair Care and Nail Care shopping carts all have 5-6 units, while Cosmetics and Fragrances have 4-5. Fragrances have the highest price points at $60, nearly double the average of all other items in their baskets. These high price points drive the overall basket value up to $142, which is 44% higher than the average Beauty basket.

What are the dynamics of cross purchasing? 

Two-thirds of Beauty Care products are purchased with other categories. Personal Care and Health Care products are natural fits to motivate buyers to expand their consumption. For the carts containing more than one Beauty item, which sub-categories are most often cross purchased? Cosmetics, as the category leader, is the most frequently purchased with every other sub-category.  After that, however, differences emerge. Hair Care and Nail Care often go hand-in hand, while Fragrance purchasers buy Beauty Tools and Beauty Tool shoppers buy Hair Care items. Fragrances beat out Beauty Tools as most-purchased with Cosmetics.

How do you boost the Beauty shopping cart? 

Given typical high loyalty in the Beauty category, consumers will likely purchase several of the same product. Facilitate this behavior by offering discounts or deals on multi-product purchases. Since consumers are cross purchasing, retailers can pair the most optimal category products with appropriate brands on browse pages.

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