The global beauty industry is set to generate over $675 billion USD by 2020, growing dramatically from $460 billion USD in 2014. With the sale of cosmetics traditionally occurring in store, the shift towards eCommerce means the online beauty industry now represents a new stratosphere of opportunity.

With younger consumers turning to the internet to find affordable, ethically-sourced, environmentally-friendly, and socially-responsible beauty products, the market is booming with the changing of the guard. And, with online sales bringing higher average orders and loyalty, it’s clear why the online beauty industry is booming.

To make waves as an online beauty brand, businesses need to think beyond than the product and how it’s marketed. With trends shaping the way beauty products are shared, sold, and purchased, online brands need to factor in technology and customer experience, ethical sourcing and organic origins. They also need to consider how to bridge the gap between quality and affordability.

Here are some of the top online health and beauty trends:


Internet of Things

While the Internet of Things (IoT) usually relates to connected technologies within your home, IoT applications are beginning to make their way into our bathrooms. Described as having a virtual beautician at your fingertips, apps like YouCam Makeup allow smartphone users to try different shades of makeup, discover new makeup brands and even check the health of their skin. The potential of apps like these is enormous, with data showing 10.8 billion global lipstick try-ons in 2017 through the YouCam MakeUp app alone.


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It’s not just makeup brands embracing technology. Cosmetic and beauty giant L’Oreal recently announced an IoT smart connected hairbrush. Called the Kérastase Hair Coach, these brainy bristles come with sensors that measure the quality of a user’s hair and the effects of different hair care routines. A built-in microphone listens to the sound of brushing to identify issues, a gyroscope measures brushing patterns and counts brush strokes while sensors determine whether you’re brushing dry or wet hair. Connected back to a smartphone app, the brush can tell you how often you’re brushing your hair, whether you’re brushing too hard and give you a nudge when you overbrush.


Changing Markets

When it comes to buying beauty products, online consumers tend to be younger, more loyal and lucrative than traditional bricks and mortar shoppers.

Traditionally, online distribution of prestige beauty products like skincare, haircare, makeup and eyewear has been more limited than other verticals. Take electronics, for example, a consumer looking for a set of Bluetooth headphones has endless options, both online and in store. Shoppers looking to buy a specific foundation from one of the big beauty brands usually has fewer options due to tighter restrictions on distribution channels. While frustrating for the consumer, it’s been a game-changer for a generation of tech-savvy and socially-focused beauty startups.

The next generation of beauty consumers are comfortable shopping online and trying new products. Usually influenced by social media, beauty bloggers and online reviews, younger shoppers are driven by different demands, and online shopping provides the perfect platform to showcase products specific to the consumer requirement.


Content and Commerce

In the online world, content and commerce have collided and it’s yielding brilliant results. Take Sephora for example, as one of the leading eCommerce beauty sites, it’s stacked with thousands of different products and brands. To balance information overload, the website has built education into its customer experience with its series of how-to videos, online beauty classes and interactive buying guides.

In addition, the makeup retailer has jumped on the Augmented Reality bandwagon and recently introduced a ‘Sephora Virtual Artist’ into its iOS app. The app scans your face to work out where your lips and eyes are, and lets you try different lip colours, eyeshadows, and false lash styles. If you like the look, you can buy it within the app.


Shipping and Distribution

In the era of shifting purchasing patterns, many stalwart beauty brands are struggling to connect with today’s online beauty shoppers. Where more traditional consumers used to shop in-store for beauty products, there’s a growing trend of buying online. Where fashion eCommerce has paved the precedent for free shipping and returns, online beauty brands are expected to follow suit.

An online shipping platform like Shippit can help streamline the packing, shipping and returns process for online stores, delivering a great shipping experience. By providing simpler delivery for online retailers, Shippit enables you to turn shipping into your competitive advantage.

Find out more about how Shippit can help you convert more sales, reduce complaints and automate your packing, shipping and returns.


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