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How European women purchase cosmetics online

How often do customers in Europe purchase cosmetics online? And where do they but them? A new study shines light on this topic, showing how European women purchase cosmetics online.

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The online cosmetics industry is not the easiest industry. Because while cosmetics brands want to inspire customers to order, these customers don’t have the opportunity to experience the product for themselves. And the thing with cosmetics is that for buyers it’s more than just personal taste: they also need to consider things like skin or hair type, skin sensitivity and health.

A study, done by visual ecommerce platform Photoslurp and market research platform Zinklar, looks at the shopping habits of women in five key countries in Europe: the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, France, and Italy. It tries to show what motivates them to purchase cosmetics online and how brands can optimize their online shopping journey to fit the customers’ needs.

73.9% bought cosmetics online in last 12 months

The two companies surveyed 1,500 women from the UK, Germany, Spain, France, and Italy and found out that cosmetics products are generally not bought weekly or daily, but over the span of months and on a rolling basis. Almost three out of four respondents have bought cosmetics online in the last twelve months.

Only 57.3% of female Germans buy cosmetics online

The UK, France and Italy have the highest share of female consumers who did this, with respectively 85.3, 83.3 and 83 percent. Compare this with Spain and Germany, where only 60.3 and 57.3 percent of female consumers bought cosmetics online.

The study [pdf] also shows that in France, women shop cosmetics online mostly every few months. While in Spain, women do this mostly once or twice a year. And in Italy, one in five female shoppers buy cosmetics online once a month.

Where Europeans shop cosmetics online

In the United Kingdom, Superdrug is the most popular ecommerce websites when it comes to buying cosmetics online, followed by Amazon and eBay. In Spain, Amazon is the most popular shopping destination, followed by Kiko and Maquillalia. In Italy, it’s also Amazon and Kiko who leads the ranks, with Sephora in third position. In Germany, perfumery chain Douglas, which also wants to offer fashion online, is the most popular one, closely followed by Amazon, while DM ranks third. And in France, the most popular ecommerce website for buying cosmetics is Yves Rocher, followed by Sephora and Nocibe.

Buying cosmetics online in Europe
Source: 2019 eCommerce Cosmetics trends

Amazon most popular website for buying cosmetics online

“Amazon is the most popular online space to shop for cosmetics products online”, the study shows. “And women tend to buy more from a big retailing website with various cosmetics options compared to the individual cosmetic brand website.”

Lipstick and masks most popular products online

When asked which products are bought online regularly, lipstick and masks seem the most popular choices. These are followed by eye shadow, eye-liner, concealer, foundation and make-up remover. And most respondents say that a sensitive skin product is the most important product feature to have to get a good experience when buying cosmetics online. In the UK, Germany and France, respondents think cruelty-free products are more important than whether or not it’s for sensitive skin.

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