Online beauty orders drop 18% as retail reopens

Online orders for beauty products performed worst of six categories measured in the lead up to retail’s reopening

In the week that England’s retail reopened its doors, online health and beauty orders dropped almost 19%.

Data collected by e-commerce specialist Salesfire found consumers placing orders for beauty products online nosedived more than any other category measured between 6 and 13 April, suggesting an anticipation among shoppers to get back in-store after three months of lockdown.

Beauty was not alone in its tumbling e-commerce results; fashion, footwear and sports orders were all down for the seven day period.

Of the six sectors monitored, food and drink and electronics were the only groups to see a hike in online orders with 8.1% and 8.4%, respectively.

“People have clearly been very excited to return to stores after a lengthy closure and this data supports the images we have seen this week of long queues outside shops in towns and cities across the country,” said Rich Himsworth, Chief Exec of Salesfire.



Reports of long queues outside some retailers emerged on 12 April, the official date non-essential retailers could welcome back customers in-store.

Shoppers flocked to budget beauty and fashion retailer Primark on the day. Primark was one of the hotspots for lengthy queues as customers rushed to bag a bargain.

With no online store, the retailer has been unable to trade during England’s third lockdown.

Himsworth added: “Brands which place a focus on their bricks-and-mortar, such as Primark and TK Maxx, hold an edge because their experience requires an in-person visit.

“Brands such as Charlotte Tilbury and Boots’ No. 7 have introduced live chat services, one-to-one virtual consultations and an online make-up try-on service to replicate the trying-on experience that so many people had missed during lockdown, but can anything beat the physical experience for health and beauty?”

Despite the initial rush back to retail, Himsworth believes online shopping will continue to outweigh in-store shopping for some everyday items.

“The volume of delivery choices from Same Day to Next Day delivery means customers can get products quickly whilst avoiding crowds and staying in the comfort of their own home.

“It will be interesting to see whether these trends are a reflection of consumers’ frustrations with lockdown and excitement to get out now that restrictions have eased, or whether the ongoing shift to e-commerce continues in the future.”

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