Online beauty sales set to grow by 8%

Online sales of beauty and body care products in Europe are set to grow by more than 8% each year until 2019, according to research by global management consultancy company AT Kearney.

Product customisation and tailoring ingredients to specific customer needs is behind the surge, with the majority of shoppers – 37% in the UK – purchasing these types of products online either exclusively or occasionally, the study found.

Price is the number one reason people are opting to shop online but other purchasing criteria is also growing in importance, with half of those surveyed looking for product information, customer ratings, tips and styling ideas when on the web.

Respondents were also separated into five target groups according to age, monthly disposable income for beauty items, willingness to experiment and delivery expectations, in order to get a better understanding of shopper behaviour.

The groups were split as following:

Although beauty junkies and fashionistas make up some of the smaller shares of shoppers at the moment, research found they spend two to three times more per month on products than the “classic” online customer.

“Online beauty shoppers are no longer looking at just price. They value the comfort of digital shopping, are looking for information and want to try new things. Customer knowledge is therefore becoming the key factor for success in online retailing,” said Dr Mirko Warschun, head of consumer industries and retail practice at A.T. Kearney for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

British customers also expect a high level of convenience. Nine out 10 said they felt a delivery time of no more than four days was acceptable and around half believe shipping should be free. When asked about the costs associated with delivery, 93% said five pounds would be the maximum they would pay.

However, 20% of those surveyed said they don't shop online for beauty items because they need to see, feel and test a product.

You can read the full report here.