America the beautiful: Influencer brands shake up the US cosmetics market

The past 12 months proved a bumper year for the beauty sector in the US, with demand for influencer-led brands shaking up the traditional cosmetic landscape. Faye Brookman reports

It was a great year for beauty in the US, for specialty, online and direct-to-consumer brands. Department stores also started to see a glimmer of hope as they added ammunition to combat competitors. The mass market, however, got stuck in a rut.

US prestige sales expanded 6% on 2017 to US$17.7bn, according to data from NPD Group. The mass market, comprised of drugstores, discount stores, club stores and supermarkets, was flat.

Hitting hard at chain stores was Amazon where, according to Larissa Jensen, Executive Director, Beauty Industry Analyst at NPD, beauty volume soared 43% last year.

Amazon is slowly building a beauty portfolio and the public seems willing to buy there. Coresight Research US reported that beauty and personal care products are the second most shopped category on the e-commerce site; 48% of US women have purchased beauty or personal care on Amazon in the past 12 months.

But Amazon wasn't the only one racking up big beauty sales. Beauty brands no longer need stores or even third-party websites to move the sales needle. Kylie Cosmetics, which started with Kylie Jenner going . . .

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