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US beauty shoppers turn to websites, not department stores, when researching products

For more insights and key statistics on the biggest trends in today’s most disruptive industries, subscribe to our Chart of the Day newsletter.

Key stat: Fewer than a third of US shoppers turn to department stores’ websites (31%) or brick-and-mortar locations (24%) when conducting beauty research, according to a May survey conducted by PowerReviews. In contrast, 71% turn to a specialty retailer’s website when researching new products.

Beyond the chart:

  • In Q2 2023, Macy’s net sales fell 8% YoY and Nordstrom’s net sales decreased 8.3% YoY, as consumers reduced spending on most discretionary categories and remained highly price-conscious.
  • US cosmetic and beauty sales will increase 10.1% YoY to reach $93.86 billion this year, far ahead of the 2.9% growth anticipated for the total US retail market, showcasing “the lipstick effect,” where consumers indulge in luxury beauty items even amid economic challenges, according to our forecasts.
  • US cosmetics and beauty ecommerce sales will increase 13.6% this year, 3.5 percentage points more than the category’s total retail growth, per our forecast.
  • Digital marketing strategies will be crucial for beauty brands. Ulta Beauty and Sephora are using generative AI to offer personalized skincare products, while Supergoop and OPI have partnered with Snap to provide an AR virtual try-on solution so customers can test out their new products.

Use this chart:

  • Understand product research and buying habits in beauty.
  • Determine which avenues to place advertising for beauty products.

More like this:

More Chart of the Day:

Methodology: Data is from an August 2023 PowerReviews report titled "Health and Beauty Shopping Trends in 2023." 26,340 US adults were surveyed during May 2023. All respondents shop for beauty products online or in-store monthly.