Grim economic conditions may be spreading gloom on the U.K. high street, however, the mighty mouse is putting up a strong fight. While overall retail growth inched up only 3.6 percent in 2007, online retail spending grew by 35 percent to $27.5 billion, according to Verdict Research. A plethora of beauty upstarts want a share of that pie, each offering its own take on pixilated prettying. Here, some recent Web entrants.
What: Celebrity-obsessed shoppers can snap up cosmetics as seen on their favorite stars. Kate Hudson fans are advised to buy YSL’s Touche Eclat, for example, while those wanting to look like The Black Eyed Peas’ Fergie can try Jelly Pong Pong’s Omnibronze bronzer.
When: Eight-year-old fashion-oriented e-tailer ASOS has been bulking up its beauty offering and this year added premium brands such as Rodial, This Works and Elemis.
Clicking With: 18- to 35-year-old women looking for a one-stop fashion and beauty shop.
Best-Selling Basket Cases: Paul & Joe Cosmetic Purse ($30), Urban Decay Big Fatty Mascara ($24).
What: The British site is dedicated to the hottest and toughest-to-find cult items, including Pommade Divine, Belmacz makeup and COMO Shambhala bath and body products.
When: Launched in London in June.
Clicking With: Beauty junkies seeking under-the-radar brands, as well as overwhelmed shoppers looking for an edited selection of tried-and-tested must-haves.
Best-Selling Basket Cases: Omorovicza Complexion Enhancer ($135), Yuroll, a jade face roller ($84).
What: A magazine-style beauty and grooming destination dedicated to guys, which sells products at prices lower than the high street.
When: Launched in July, LookMantastic is an offshoot of seven-year-old e-tailing site LookFantastic, which grew from the salon chain of the same name founded by hairdresser Peter Crown.
Clicking With: 18- to 40-year-old time-pressed well-groomed guys.
Best-Selling Basket Cases: Redken for Men Go Clean Shampoo ($13.20), Anthony Logistics for Men Facial Scrub ($37.40), Lab Series Skincare for Men Invigorating Face Scrub ($33.70).
What: Glamour goes green with premium natural and organic brands, including Jo Wood organic bath and body products and Skinnyskinny organic soaps.
When: Launched in early 2008 by former Pout marketer Jo Cruickshanks.
Clicking With: 25- to 60-year-olds who love luxuries as much as they value health and the environment.
Best-Selling Basket Cases: Patyka Face & Body Serum ($49), Tsi-La natural fragrances ($47), Chocolate Sun Cocoa Absolute Sunless for The Body ($46).