There is no question the global pandemic was an initial shock to the beauty industry. The combination of the in-person nature of purchasing beauty products and fragrances with a 43% decline in socialising, created a hit in sales for UK shops and retailers in early 2020. The UK retail landscape instead saw consumers investing disposable income into loungewear and activewear, as they adjusted to life at home.
The beauty industry, however, is resilient. While cosmetic sales may have plummeted, brands quickly noticed an upward trend in the skincare category and shifted focus here. There was also an increased demand for men’s skincare and with the emergence of new brands and targeted advertising, the category eventually saw +300% growth last year. Capitalising on key trends, focusing on online channels, and increased digital investments is what is propelling the UK beauty industry towards an ongoing shift to online shopping.
The UK has the third highest consumer spending of cosmetics products in Europe, only behind France and Germany. The average British consumer spends approximately £400 a year on beauty products and this market is only predicted to grow.
GlobalData estimated that in 2020, 37.2% of UK consumers purchased health and beauty products via online channels last year. This is currently the fastest growing channel for UK health and beauty purchases. While European consumers have always been accustomed to purchasing health and beauty products through online channels, the pandemic has created a tremendous digital boom in e-commerce growth for beauty products.
E-commerce and social media go hand-in-hand in the beauty world. It is reported that 72% of people use Instagram for research and discovery when considering a purchase. With this in mind, it’s crucial for a brand’s social presence to be top notch in order to capitalize on e-commerce growth, and many beauty brands in particular are turning to artificial intelligence and content segmentation practices to drive online sales.
A prominent personal care brand used AI-technology when launching a campaign around a beard balm, that aimed to celebrate diversity and define confidence. On the photoshoot set, images were uploaded to visual marketing software, Dash Hudson, in real-time. With Dash Hudson’s predictive visual performance technology, the team could quickly see which photos would work on Instagram and pivot their content strategy accordingly, saving them both time and money. Using the Vision technology, the campaign saw a +60% increase in engagement on Instagram and a +109% increase in followers, making it a huge success for the brand.
Innovative skincare brand, The INKEY List, also understands the importance of putting your best content foot forward. In response to the meteoric rise in global social media usage throughout 2020 and beyond, the INKEY team identified a need for more easily digestible content. Using Dash Hudson’s content segmentation tool Boards, the team can group posts from each campaign or content pillar into categories to see topline metrics and understand what content is working for their social channels. Since putting a focus on content and using Dash Hudson, the brand has seen +598% growth on Instagram.
Social media is a beauty brand’s best friend when it comes to driving e-commerce sales. To gain further industry insights on how beauty brands in the UK are using Instagram to fuel e-commerce growth download The British Beauty Guide to Social Media ROI here.