Beauty Before Breakfast: Which Retailer is #1?


Good morning, beauties! Welcome to Beauty Before Breakfast, a bite-size scroll through today’s industry. This week, we’re talking retail. From drugstores to e-comm, the population of beauty retailers has grown and diversified year after year, and beauty professionals are wondering: Which outlet is the new go-to? Here are your need-to-know trends:

Trend #1: Try Before You Buy

We all know the feeling: pre-order jitters when we’ve got our eyes on a new product but haven’t had the chance to test it yet. In a recent survey, 58% of respondents said they’re likely to test products before buying. (What can we say? We’ve developed some beauty trust issues). However, even as 66% of consumers still prefer to purchase products at physical stores, online retailers like Glossier and ColourPop are becoming increasingly popular.

You can thank the robots for this confusing trend –– no, really. Augmented Reality (AR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have made it easier than ever for consumers to “try on” products before they buy, as well as get personalized recommendations that are more likely to work for them. For example, brands like Function of Beauty and Curology are using data-backed surveys to create built-for-you product regimes. All of this, plus our fave influencers sacrificing their skin and dollars so we don’t have to, has made online beauty way more welcoming to shoppers. G’ Bless

Trend #2: Brick & Mortar Battle

Sephora and ULTA are obviously everyday faves for beauty purchases, making it easy to find prestige and masstige brands. However, even the serious clout of these retailers hasn’t kept them safe from competing with more and more outlets. Think about it: Apparel brands suddenly include beauty sections; every airport has beauty vending machines and influencers are promoting affiliate links left and right. With huge profits and a low barrier to entry, just about anyone can –– and obviously, will –– get it on the fun.

The fact is consumers care more about getting their hands on products than they do being loyal to a retailer. We know which stores are best for certain products and, honestly, we’ve started to play the field. #SorryNotSorry

Trend #3: Welcome to the Jungle

We probably could have guessed that Amazon’s convenience would find its way into the beauty community –- and with free shipping, we’re not complaining! However, the online retailer has gotten surprisingly huge in one beauty sub-genre: skincare. If you’re in the beauty community at any capacity, you’ve definitely noticed the big brands promoted new products and new names popped up everywhere in skincare, with sales growing by 13% last year.

Amazon has tried convincing beauty brands to sell on the platform for ages. But it took until 2020 for the partnerships to come fully into play. With growing name-brand products on Amazon, the platform has the opportunity to become the place for replenishment sales. Not only can beauty enthusiasts stock their vanities quickly and efficiently, but the platform also makes life easier for the growing population of independent stylists. When you need to stock your suite space frequently and fast, Prime shipping to your door is a hard offer to pass up.

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