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Beauty and personal care, the next big thing in Europe

Beauty and personal care could be the next big online category in Europe, consulting firm A.T. Kearny thinks. But only if the products and online shops meet the unique needs of consumers. Nonetheless, online sales of beauty and personal care is expected to increase by more than 8 percent year on year until 2019.


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A.T. Kearny conducted a study [pdf] of beauty and personal care ecommerce sales in Europe, thereby focusing on consumers in the United Kingdom, Germany and France. One of the findings is that this particular product category has the potential to become the next big online category in Europe. Also, online beauty and personal care shoppers are not only interested in price and promotions, but they are also interested in purchasing their regularly used products online, convenience and inspiration, for example for new makeover and beauty ideas.

Men and women spend same amount of money
When it comes to online shopping for beauty and personal care products, women still dominate this business. 53 percent of women shop online for these kinds of products, while it’s just 34 percent of men. But, surprisingly, men and women spend equal amounts of money online on these items.

For many shoppers, price is the main reason they shop for beauty and personal care items online, with promotions and special deals also ranking high. But other reasons are gaining more ground. Now more people shop online because they like to read peer product reviews or look for makeover ideas.

Tips to differentiate the offering
According to A.T. Kearny, there is a clear opportunity for retailers or brand owners with their own online presence to differentiate their offerings. They can for example make use of in-store digital tryouts with the option to purchase products online, apps with facial recognition or skin-tone tests to recommend products, beauty communities, consumer product reviews or free samples that are included in the delivery.

The consulting firm also performed a segmentation, dividing online beauty and personal care shoppers into five different characteristics.

Different shoppers for beauty and personal care products

Popular online beauty and personal care websites in Europe
The research also includes ranking the leading online website for beauty and personal care purchases in the UK, France and Germany. Amazon ranked as the favorite online store by 22 percent of shoppers in the UK and 25 percent of shoppers in Germany. Amazon ranks second in France (17 percent), just behind Beyond Amazon, there’s Douglas, Rossmann and dm in Germany, and Boots in the UK which are popular online shops for beauty and personal care.

The study suggests there are some important differences between the beauty and personal care shoppers in the selected countries. For example, UK shoppers find promotions and special deals more important than lower prices, while in Germany and France shoppers expect to find lower prices online compared to brick-and-mortar stores. Also, Germans (more so than the French or Brits) like to go online to get information about new products, to research what others think and to obtain makeover ideas. The French on the other hand, are less demanding when it comes to expedited shipping times. And of the three markets studies, France is the only one that doesn’t have Amazon ranked as the favorite online shop for beauty and personal care products.