Beauty Products

Over the past few years, the beauty industry has finally caught up with other sectors and become one of the leading e-commerce industries in the United States. In this article we take a detailed look at the statistics relevant to the beauty industry in the USA and at the most important facts and figures regarding beauty products and e-commerce in the United States.

General trends in the beauty product industry in the USA

Although the global economic recession has had a detrimental effect on the sales figures of certain products, research has shown that the beauty and cosmetics industry in the United States has been virtually unaffected by the economic crisis. In fact, according to a recent report released by Kline Market Research, the US beauty and personal care market has outperformed its own record figures, which are currently at levels much higher that during the pre-recession period. This means that the beauty industry has kept growing year after year due to increased consumer demand and to a wider choice of products and purchasing methods.

In 2012 alone, the manufacturing output of the beauty and cosmetics industry across the country grew by 4.2 per cent. In terms of sales, the growth levels reached an astonishing 30 per cent increase when compared to the previous year. Market analysts believe that this was mostly due to the launch of multiple limited edition lines and to the development of innovative application techniques and product mixes. It appears that these factors have been able to reach a larger customer base and in turn, this has driven sales nationwide.

The past year also saw an increase in the sales of certain beauty products that had been losing popularity for quite some time. This is the case of fragrances (colognes and perfumes) and of luxury beauty products. According to researchers at the Cosmetics Design Group, this has been brought about by an increase in the number of high income consumers who shop for these products. Another important factor that has driven sales in this beauty sub-sector is the launch of several celebrity fragrances. The market leader in this sub-sector is L'Oreal USA.

The total revenue generated by the beauty industry in the USA exceeds $54 billion a year.

E-commerce statistics

The United States is the world's largest market for the beauty and cosmetics industry. This is also reflected in the number of online purchases carried out last year, which amounted to more than $7.2 billion.

As it has been previously mentioned, one of the key trends that characterises the beauty industry in the United States is its ability to reach a wide demographic profile. Online sales of fragrances are particularly high among Hispanic and African American shoppers. The sales figures for men's beauty products have also increased substantially, particularly in the case of skin care products.

In terms of geographic distribution, consumers in the West Coast of the United States are the ones who spend the most buying beauty products and cosmetics online, as the annual average in the region is $154 a year, whereas the national average is slightly lower at $144.

Approximately 24 per cent of all beauty products bought online by US consumers are hair care products. Facial and skin care products account for 27 per cent of the total online sales, while make-up products account for 20 per cent and fragrances for 10 per cent.

Online sales for make-up products were up last year by 10 per cent, whereas online skin care and fragrance sales increased by 19 and 11 per cent in each case. Across all sub-sectors, there is an increased preference for products featuring natural ingredients and for socially responsible brands.

Popular beauty brands in the USA

Procter & Gamble is the undisputed market leader across all sub-sectors, with a market share of 14.2 per cent. The most popular products include hair conditioners, moisturisers, anti-ageing creams, and styling products. Other North American brands, such as Neutrogena or Aveeno, are among the top best selling in the market.

New York-based cosmetics company MAC is another key player in the US beauty market, as last year the company sold an eye shadow and a lipstick every two seconds. However, the online market for make-up products is characterised by a high segmentation, and the competition between brands is tight indeed.

Shopping online for beauty products

The prevalent trend among US consumers is to shop for their favourite beauty products using the online stores run by their preferred brands. Buying online from a department store is also increasingly common, and in this respect, Walmart, Sears, CVS, Walgreens, Macy's, Bergdorfs, and Bloomingdales are the most popular options. Other online retailers that are popular among US shoppers include Amazon.com, Sephora, Neiman Marcus, Henri Bendel's, American Apparel, and Beauty.com.