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Internet Beauty Sales Up


Online purchasing of beauty products is increasing, according to research from the NPD Group.

The state of the economy appears to be taking its toll on beauty purchases across most retail channels, with the exception of one—the Internet. According to Emerging Channels Series: Beauty Care Products, Special Focus: The Internet from The NPD Group, Inc., a leading market research company, the Internet gained one percentage point and was the only retail channel to experience an increase in the number of women who reported mentions for beauty products.

The Internet, an increasingly dynamic, though comparatively small channel for beauty, has a higher ratio of women saying they spent more, relative to those who said they spent less on beauty in the past year. The average annual beauty spending per woman is $86 for this channel. The ease of shopping online and product availability continues to be what is driving Internet shoppers who spend more via this channel than in the prior year.

Women who spent more on the Internet also told NPD that they purchased more beauty products in general and that they started buying more expensive brands and products than in the previous year. Higher gas prices also had a positive impact on Internet spending. More consumers opted to shop for and buy beauty products online, instead of driving to a store.

In addition, the Internet plays a key role in shopper research. About two in three Internet shoppers who shopped for beauty online, but did not make a purchase, said they use the Internet to gather information and make price comparisons through different Web sites, preferably ones that offer various brands or a combination of multi-brand and single brand Web sites.

“Consumers are clearly showing us that they value this avenue for beauty. The Internet crosses all channels from traditional brick and mortar stores, to TV, to direct sellers. The opportunity lies in utilizing the best features, across channels in combination with the selling points unique to the Internet,” said Karen Grant, senior global industry analyst and vice president, beauty. “While there have been major strides made in online beauty retailing, there are still significant opportunities in understanding and overcoming the barriers to purchase beauty on the Internet. There is still room for more Internet shoppers to buy through Web sites instead of going somewhere else to make the actual purchases after they have used the sites to gather information and make price comparisons. This will be the key for future growth: optimizing shopper activity and increasing revenue,” ended Grant.

Methodology: A nationally representative sample of females aged 18-64 were selected from NPD’s online panel during the period of November 20-26, 2008.

About The NPD Group, Inc.

NPD’s BeautyTrends information has tracked the prestige beauty industry for a decade. The NPD Group is a leading provider of reliable and comprehensive consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries. Today, more than 1,600 manufacturers, retailers, and service companies rely on NPD to help them drive critical business decisions at the global, national, and local market levels. NPD helps its clients to identify new business opportunities and guide product development, marketing, sales, merchandising and other functions. For more information, contact NPD Group at

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