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Prestige Beauty Rises Online

According to research from The NPD Group, the channel is seeing rapid growth.

Online sales of prestige beauty products might currently represent a mere 6.2 percent of the U.K.’s overall prestige beauty market, but the channel is seeing rapid growth.

That’s according to research from The NPD Group, which on Thursday released research showing that prestige beauty’s online sales in the U.K. saw 35 percent growth in 2013 compared with the previous year, with sales of prestige makeup online growing at the fastest rate, by 43 percent.

The value of online sales of prestige beauty products in the U.K. amounted to 102 million pounds, or $173 million in 2013, which represents 6.2 percent of the U.K.’s prestige beauty market. NPD said the overall prestige beauty market in the U.K., taking online and off-line sales into account, grew by 6 percent in 2013, compared to 2012. Fragrances make up the majority of the prestige beauty products sold online in the U.K., with the category holding a 51 percent share of the online market, and the value of fragrance sales online grew by 35 percent in 2013 versus 2012.

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NPD pointed to December as being a “crucial” month for online fragrance sales in the U.K., with sales in that month accounting for 36 percent of online fragrance sales for the year. The organization said that the U.K.’s prestige skin-care market is valued at 493 million pounds, or $837 million, and the value of skin-care sales online grew by 28 percent in 2013, with Clarins, Clinique, Crème de la Mer, Origins and Elemis performing well both on and off-line.

NPD singled out Chanel as the best-selling prestige beauty brand online, while the best-selling brand both online and off-line is Clinique. June Jensen, director for The NPD Group beauty U.K. commented that while the online sales make up a small percentage of overall prestige beauty sales, “what the last year has shown…is that online sales in prestige skin care, fragrance and makeup are driving the business forward. Not necessarily taking away from [prestige beauty sales on] the high street, but adding to it.”