Mask mandates have been a beast for the beauty industry, especially when combined with stay-at-home orders giving shoppers fewer opportunities to glam up.  With restrictions continuing to lift in the US and UK, we use our cross-continental transaction dataset to assess how the beauty recovery is progressing in both markets.  In today’s Insight Flash, we dig into channel trends for the industry, changes in top brands, and which demographics are leading the recovery.

In May, the pace of the recovery translated to beauty growth across geographies and channels.  Even with the slower pace of UK business reopenings, offline beauty sales were still 3% above January 2020 levels.  Offline sales fared even better in the US, up 17% in the same time period.  In both geographies, online sales saw more momentum than offline, up 34% in the US versus January 2020 and up 81% in the UK.   

US and UK Industry Growth

For specific brands, both the UK and US saw consolidation at the top in the past year.  For the last 35 days versus the year earlier period, Superdrug in the UK increased market share among tracked brands by 5%, from 44% to 49%.  In the US, Ulta saw similar growth from 11% to 17% share of tracked brands.  Sephora also saw more muted share gains, from 8% to 10%.

US and UK Top Brands Share of Spend

Note: UK data 35 days ending 6/5/2021 and same period year prior; US data 35 days ending 6/11/2021 and same period year prior

In the US, the number of 18-24 years olds shopping at Beauty retailers grew faster than other age groups, with 5% more individuals making a purchase in May 2021 than in January 2020.  On an income basis, the only group with more individuals making a Beauty purchase was among those making $40,000-$60,000 per year, possibly due to this group feeling flush after the most recent US stimulus check.

US Demographics