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Beauty and Cosmetics Industry Trends 2019-2022
A retrospective look at how the last three years shaped the new beauty industry reality, plus beauty industry trends to watch for in 2022.
This blog post highlights the exclusive Talkable insights and stats from our Industry Trends Report 2022. The report is based on aggregated client data and US eCommerce trends in the Apparel, Beauty and Cosmetics, Home Goods, Sporting Goods, and Groceries industries.
We all have seen how the pandemic has changed customer behavior. The beauty and cosmetics industry has experienced some ofthe most noticeable changes: from the global shift toward DTC beauty brands, to the virtual try-on that brands provide through AR technologies. Now as the eCommerce industry is settling — rather comfortably — into a “new normal”, we have a broader perspective of COVID’s effect on business. This is why we’re taking the opportunity to conduct a retrospective look at how the last three years shaped the new beauty industry reality.
The beauty and cosmetics industry surged in 2020 thanks to a huge summer sales spike, followed by a seasonal rise during the holidays. According to Rakuten Advertising, clicks in the beauty and personal care category ads increased year over year, 2020 versus 2019, growing 7% in Q1, 45% in Q2, and 56% in Q3. They also have seen consistent growth in order volume in the category.
Primarily, skincare and hair products were responsible for the industry jolt. In skincare, referral revenue increased by nearly 3.5X; hair products also enjoyed a rise. According to a McKinsey report, Zalando, Europe’s largest fashion and lifestyle e-commerce marketplace, reported sales of skin-, nail-, and hair-care products were up 300%, year over year [2020 vs 2019]. Amazon noticed the same trend, with sales for nail-care products increasing by 218%, hair coloring - by 172%, and bath-and-body products - by 65% in 2020.
“Before the pandemic, beauty was becoming more intertwined with a sense of well-being, and the COVID crisis certainly shined a brighter light on the importance of self-care. Categories such as body care, personal care, bath, hair care, wellness, skincare, and beauty tools have experienced significant growth, and I only see that growth scaling as we emerge from the pandemic in the year ahead.” - says Kelly St Jones, Founder of KSJ Collective.
Another category that saw a substantial increase in 2020, was beauty box subscription services. Early in the pandemic, some beauty boxes adjusted their offerings to include more personal care and wellness items, such as hand sanitizer and vitamins. In 2020, beauty subscription brands saw a 20% growth in average order value (AOV), and a 29% increase in customer lifetime value (LTV). Findings by Cosmetics Business uncovered that, since the pandemic began, 70% of customers who had not previously bought a subscription beauty box before said they would now consider signing up for one.
Since February 2021, total sales have decreased but remain higher than 2019 levels.
Referral sales followed the general trend, with a spike in 2020 Q2 and Q4 and a gradual decline in 2021.
New Customers as a % of Overall Sharers (NCS)
In 2021, the percentage of new customers acquired through referrals dropped. This is likely because shopping behavior returned to pre-pandemic norms, and some product categories which saw a popularity spike in early COVID days — experienced a gradual decline.
Customers were excited to share new brands and products with friends during the pandemic, but their referral sharing activity was declining as life and shopping got back to normal.
While the beauty industry remains in a strong position, compared to other consumer categories, it still experienced crises and global shifts in customer behavior. Beauty brands are looking for new ways of retaining and engaging customers, and launching a customized and personalized loyalty program is one of them. LaserAway, a US leader in aesthetic dermatology with over 80 locations across the country, has launched its LaserLove Rewards program in October 2021. It’s a tiered, omnichannel loyalty program that aims to engage an offline customer base and also promotes brand advocacy through an integrated referral program. For LaserAway, the loyalty program is an additional way to elevate user experience and go beyond standard service selling.
Beauty industry trends to watch for in 2022:
- Beauty influencers now live stream their shopping trips, or walk through their at-home closets, sharing color, price, and fit recommendations, accompanied by links to purchase products directly through the stream. One of the most noticeable examples are Amazon’s Influencer Storefronts, which provide a curated list of influencers’ favorite products. Influencers can test products on live streams, and clicking on the selected product from the live stream takes customers directly to the Amazon product purchase page. Amazon as well as other online shopping platform’s are working to shortening the path from seeing the product in the live stream to purchasing it.
- Increased virtual reality experiences as a way to “try on” a product before purchase are quickly becoming table stakes for cosmetics brands. Many make-up brands launched successful AR projects, like Lip Lingerie XXL by NYX Professional Makeup with their liquid lipstick try-on and fun Before/After set on Instagram. Other beauty brands, like hair products and skincare, also provide virtual try-on experiences for their audience: L’Oreal Colorista created a TikTok effect for users to try rose gold hair color, and prestige hair color brand Madison Reed allows their website visitors to try on 50 different hair colors.“We see at least 38% of those who go through our color quiz and then explore our hair colors using our AR Virtual Try-On Tool, convert to purchasing,” says Tyler Wozny, Senior Vice President of Madison Reed.
- A boom in beauty subscription services. The market for consumer subscriptions for physical goods will grow from an expected $64 billion in 2020 to more than $263 billion in 2025, a new report from Juniper Research suggests. Beauty subscription brands start to deliver more affordable personalized approaches, like Kura boxes with clean skincare bundles customized to your needs, or Prose, boxes with personalized hair care like shampoo and hair masks.
- A popularity rise in ingestible beauty supplements to experience beauty “from the inside out”. Most ingestible beauty products are focused on improving skin health, with collagen being one of the most common ingredients. Adaptogens are becoming more popular in products made by startups like Moon Juice and kindroot. There is also a rising trend of ready-to-go drinks form (rather than vitamins and gummies). Examples are water from Flow Hydration and even coffee (Pop & Bottle).
For more industry-specific stats and trends, download Industry Trends Report 2022.