Analysis: Pandemic Exit Drives Demand for Beauty Products

National Lipstick Day, which falls on July 29th, has only been around as an official holiday since 2016, but celebrating lipstick has been around for much, much longer. Lipstick is believed to have been invented about 5,000 years ago when ancient Sumerian men and women used crushed gemstones to add personal flair to their face and lips.

Lipstick has remained a staple of human cultures ever since. Sometimes used as a way to identify social status, sometimes reserved for a special night out, lipstick is a great way to add a little (or a lot) of personality to your day.

So with National Lipstick Day coming up, we thought we’d celebrate in our favorite way: by digging into our data to learn more about online demand for lipstick and other cosmetics.

Has online demand for cosmetics been on the rise? Or have Americans been cutting back? Did COVID-19 bring a huge rush on online demand? Has 2021 seen online demand drop as we’ve seen things begin to reopen across the country?

To find the answers to these questions and more, our data science team analyzed online demand for cosmetics starting in 2019 through the first half of 2021.

Which types of cosmetics experience the most online demand?

To say that “cosmetics” entails a wide variety of products is an understatement. So before diving too deep into the data, we first examined several major types of cosmetics categories to see which ones were the most popular on Amazon.

Here’s a comparison of some of the types of cosmetics categories we analyzed, ranked by how much demand each category saw from January 2020 through June 2021.

Lipstick was the most popular product category, with hair extensions, wigs and accessories a very close second.

Next up was a cluster of categories that received similar levels of demand: makeup remover, lash enhancers and primers, eyeshadow, mascara, and lip gloss. Foundation brushes, eyebrow color, and body bronzers were also fairly popular.

Outside of those top ten categories, we see demand start to drop significantly as category types begin to narrow.

Now that we understand which types of cosmetics see the most demand, let’s dive a bit deeper into some of those categories to see when demand for them is at its highest (and lowest).

Did COVID-19 increase online demand for lipstick?

We wrote this article to celebrate National Lipstick Day, and lipstick just happens to be the most popular cosmetic category in our analysis, so let’s start there:

Online demand for lipstick tumbled from mid-March through April 2020, during the height of the initial COVID-19 lockdowns. This dip was short lived, however, as demand returned to pre-pandemic levels by the end of April.

It doesn’t seem that lipstick relies heavily on any particular time of year to drive major sales. Demand peaked at the end of August, and remained consistently high until Spring 2021. This could be a softening of demand as things begin to reopen, or a simple seasonal trend.

For a clearer picture of this potential trend, we next compared monthly demand from 2019 through 2021 so far.

Here we can see that in a “normal” year, online demand for lipstick remains remarkably consistent from month-to-month. So the significant increase in online demand for lipstick last summer was almost certainly a result of Americans starting to go “back out” but preferring to shop for their lipstick online.

The dip in demand we’re seeing in 2021 so far, then, appears to be a return to normal. As more specialty cosmetic shops are opening their doors again, it seems that fewer Americans are seeking out lipstick online.

Despite this dip, however, demand in 2021 is well above 2019’s levels, and ahead of what we were experiencing in mid-2020. So while we wouldn’t expect to see online demand return to the highs we saw in late 2020, it’s clear that plenty of Americans who wouldn’t have turned to online shopping for their lipstick before COVID-19 are sticking with it even as things have begun to reopen.

How did the pandemic impact other types of cosmetics?

Online demand for lipstick was up big in 2020 compared to 2019, especially skyrocketing during the second half of the year. Did other types of cosmetics see the same kinds of trends?

To find out, we compared the change in demand for different types of cosmetics during the second half of 2020 vs. the second half of 2019 to see which ones got the biggest COVID boost.

Cosmetics of all kinds got a major boost in online demand as a result of COVID-19. Online demand during the second half of 2020 was at least double that of 2019 in nearly every category we examined, with only bronzers and eyeshadow bases and primers falling just shy of a 100% increase year over year.

Lips got plenty of attention during COVID-19, as lipstick, lipstick primers, lip liners, and lip gloss had the top four largest increases in demand in this view.

For another look at the widespread impact that COVID had on online demand for cosmetic products, here’s a chart comparing the change in weekly demand for lipstick, hair extensions, makeup remover, lash enhancers, and eyeshadow (the top 5 most popular overall cosmetic categories in our analysis):

Here we see similar trends across most of the different types of cosmetics in our analysis: an immediate dip in the earliest weeks of the pandemic followed by a rapid rebound to “typical” levels. Then during late summer and early fall 2020, demand surged in most categories.

Each of our top five most popular cosmetics categories has also seen online demand decline over the most recent months of 2021, further reinforcing the conclusion we drew from our lipstick data.

To close out this view, here’s our 2019 through 2021 view for the rest of our top five cosmetics categories:

During a normal year, hair extensions, wigs & accessories see demand rise through the late summer, peaking during the fall. 2020 actually saw trends stay true to form, only at an increased rate. 2021 so far has seen those trends remain elevated, but it appears that demand may be softening for this category as well.

Makeup remover had a strong 2020 compared to 2019, even during the depths of the early COVID dip in March and April. Demand was at its peak in early 2021, but has also begun to drop to 2020 levels as things have begun to reopen.

Online demand for lash enhancers bucked the trend of most of our other top categories, with demand actually surging immediately following the initial lockdowns, then softening over the summertime.

Demand then surged at the start of 2021, and has trended down as the summer began. 2020 saw a similar dip in demand during the summertime, but 2019 actually saw demand peak in July, so it will be interesting to see whether this is a “return to normal” or the beginning of a softening of online demand for lash enhancers.

Online demand for eyeshadow in 2020 saw demand crater during March and April, then rebounding strongly in May. Demand then rose over the fall and peaked in December, mirroring that of 2019’s pre-COVID trends only with much higher overall demand.

Once again, 2021 saw the year start with high online demand, only to see it soften as the year has progressed and the world has begun to reopen.

In summation, it looks like online demand for most cosmetics categories is slowing down. More people are going out, which would most likely indicate a rise in overall demand for cosmetic products, so the most likely explanation is that as more brick and mortar locations have reopened, people are less likely to be shopping for cosmetics online.

A lesson for brands

Our data shows that COVID-19 has had a major impact on online demand for all types of cosmetics, including lipstick.

Understanding the factors that influence consumer behavior can help brands better understand how to forecast demand for their products on online marketplaces, and even inform product design and marketing strategy.

For example, we may see online demand for cosmetics continue to decline as more shops reopen, but we might also see demand stay high as more people have grown used to buying their cosmetics online.

To stay up to date on consumer behavior and ecommerce news, info, and trend analyses, be sure to subscribe to Pattern Insights on the right.

And, if you’d like to learn more about how you can best leverage our data to help your brand win online, holiday or not, schedule a demo today.

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Sept 6, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 6th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon announces new inventory and distribution service, AWD Amazon has launched Amazon Warehousing and Distribution (AWD), providing inventory and distribution services to its sellers as a means of addressing current supply chain issues. AWD is now available for sellers using Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA), i.e. outsourcing their fulfilment to the platform. Amazon has plans to expand the service outside the platform in 2023. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/02/amazon-introduces-new-service-to-help-solve-supply-chain-challenges/) Amazon Web Services (AWS) launches in the UAE AWS, Amazon’s cloud-computing platform offering, has launched its second region in the Middle East and now provides its services in the UAE. The move will now allow anyone in the UAE who utilises cloud technologies to harness AWS’s advanced platforms and APIs. An estimated $11 billion USD is expected to be added to the UAE’s GDP thanks to the implementation, with an average of 6,000 external vendor jobs to be created annually. AWS is now available in 87 zones across 27 regions, with sights set on expanding further across Australia, Canada, India, Israel, New Zealand, Spain, and Switzerland. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/30/amazon-web-services-launches-region-in-uae/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Lazada to launch in Europe Alibaba-owned ecommerce platform Lazada is set to launch in Europe, marking a refreshed internationalisation push from the company. The move follows toughening economic conditions and performance in Southeast Asia, advancing the need to tap overseas markets. In Europe, Lazada will face tough competition from giants like Amazon and Zalando. Lazada’s exact entry strategy is to be confirmed and will be reliant on macroeconomic and market conditions, according to Lazada CEO James Dong. [Read more on DigitalCommerce360](https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2022/09/01/alibabas-lazada-to-take-on-amazon-zalando-in-europe-push/) Chinese ecommerce giant Pinduoduo to launch cross-border platform in the United States Pinduoduo, a Chinese ecommerce giant rivalling Alibaba and JD, has announced it will be launching a new cross-border ecommerce platform. The marketplace is set to launch in the United States next month, as part of the company’s larger push into new markets. Pinduoduo found success in China thanks to its rock-bottom price offerings and harnessing of social commerce marketing, emulating strategies similar to fast-fashion giant Shein. [Read more on Yahoo Finance](https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/pinduoduo-launch-international-e-commerce-034129263.html) Alibaba launches its biggest B2B sales event, ‘Super September’ China ecommerce giant, Alibaba, has now launched its month-long B2B sales event ‘Super September’. The event provides 40 million buyers and 200,000 suppliers with the ability to connect on the platform, showcasing a ‘virtually unlimited’ number of products. The event hopes to foster new cross-border business relationships to tackle supply chain challenges currently faced by businesses. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/01/alibaba-launches-super-september-b2b-sales-event/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Klarna’s losses quadruple in first half of 2022 BNPL provider, Klarna, has reported losses of $581 million USD for the first half of 2022. This figure is almost four times larger than a year earlier, where $129 million USD in losses were reported. The company attributes the losses to employee costs, technology investments, and rising credit losses. Klarna’s figure reporting comes amidst worsening economic conditions, fresh legal and regulatory scrutiny, and pressure from Big Tech competitors. [Read more on The Financial Times](https://www.ft.com/content/483451db-9221-4ca4-83a6-b4ddc6bfcfbb) [Read more on the Guardian](https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/aug/31/klarna-losses-more-than-triple-as-consumer-spending-slows) One fifth of Snap employees to be laid off amidst poor financial performance Social media platform Snap (‘Snapchat’) has announced it will be laying off 20% of its employees and closing out a number of projects following a year of poor financial results.The move will see 1,200 employees globally lose their jobs, saving the company an estimated $500 million USD in costs. Snap is currently valued at $20 billion, an 84% decrease from its valuation of $130 billion last year. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/01/snap-to-lay-off-20-of-its-workforce-and-wind-down-a-number-of-projects/)
Aug 30, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 30th August 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon set to shut down Amazon Care Amazon is closing its telehealth service, Amazon Care, which launched in 2019 as a trial program for its headquartered employees. Later the service was rolled out nationwide for employees and other companies. The ecommerce giant has now made the decision to move away from the healthcare space, believing it was not the right long-term solution for its enterprise customers. [Read more on CNBC](https://www.cnbc.com/2022/08/24/amazon-is-shutting-down-amazon-care-telehealth-service.html) Peloton closes new deal to sell on Amazon Following a recent deal, Amazon customers will soon be able to buy Peloton fitness equipment on the marketplace, marking Peleton’s first move outside a direct-to-consumer model. According to Peloton’s CCO, there are already around half a million searches on Amazon for Peloton products every month, despite having no presence on the marketplace. Some key products include the original Peloton Bike, retailing for $1,445 and Peloton Guide for $295. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/24/peloton-strikes-deal-to-sell-fitness-equipment-on-amazon/) --- Other Marketplace News --- 60% of Malaysians are buying from local sellers on Shopee A recent survey of nearly 3,500 respondents found that nearly half of the shoppers prefer to purchase from local sellers due to shorter delivery times. Other shoppers decide to shop locally due to the quality of the products made in Malaysia and an interest in keeping the economy running. As a result, smaller local merchants have been able to grow their businesses, and shoppers benefit from shorter delivery times, products of high quality and supporting local businesses. [Read more on The Malaysian Reserve](https://themalaysianreserve.com/2022/08/25/around-60-malaysians-are-buying-from-local-sellers-on-shopee/) Flipkart’s social commerce platform Shopsy crosses 100 million users Flipkart launched a social commerce arm, Shopsy, in July of last year, which has now surpassed 100 million users, ahead of its target timeline being the end of 2022. This acquisition of new users has made Shopsy one of the largest platforms of its kind in the country, and is expected to onboard a further 100 million by the end of 2023. The platform is centred around boosting local entrepreneurship and powering ecommerce for consumers across tier 2+ regions where users face challenges around trust and navigation when shopping online. [Read more on Business Standard](https://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/flipkart-s-social-commerce-platform-shopsy-hits-100-million-users-1220828006851.html) Meta joins Amazon and Walmart in bid for Indian ecommerce market Amazon mentioned earlier in the year that it would be building a logistics division in-house through its purchase of a 51% stake in Ecom Express, an end-to-end logistics firm, to make ecommerce deliveries more efficient in the country. Walmart operates Flipkart in India and is set to continue its investment in the marketplace. In an effort to compete in the Indian ecommerce market, Meta has partnered with Indian ecommerce company, JioMart, to offer customers a grocery shopping platform within its WhatsApp chat feature. [Read more on Pymnts](https://www.pymnts.com/news/retail/2022/meta-joins-amazon-walmart-indian-ecommerce-market/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Ecommerce in Spain worth €57.7 billion in 2021 Spanish ecommerce saw 11.7% growth compared to last year, largely attributed to cross-border sales. In the final quarter of 2021, ecommerce sales in Spain were at €16.9 billion euros, at least 60% of which came from cross-border sales. Transactions from foreign locations to Spain generated a turnover of €1.56 billion in Q4, a growth of 27.7% compared to Q4 a year before. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/ecommerce-in-spain-was-worth-e57-7-billion-in-2021/)
Aug 23, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 23rd August 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to add mental health support to primary-care service Amazon is set to move into mental health therapy with its primary-care division, following its recent acquisition deal of One Medical. The plan is to partner with virtual behavioural therapy service, Ginger, to offer its Amazon Care users with on-demand access to mental health services, licensed therapists and psychiatrists. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/11/amazon-plans-to-add-mental-health-support-to-primary-care-service/) GMB union calls for £15 an hour minimum pay at UK Amazon warehouses Amazon recently offered its warehouse workers a 3% pay rise, which in comparison to the June inflation rate of 9.4% left employees disappointed. Following this, hundreds of Amazon warehouse workers stopped work last week, protesting against the minimal pay increase, seeking a minimum of £15 an hour. Recent protests consisting of employee walkouts and sit-ins aim to get a better offer out of Amazon. [Read more on The Guardian](https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/aug/09/gmb-calls-for-15-an-hour-minimum-pay-at-amazon-warehouses-in-uk) Amazon third-party sellers have received their first-ever holiday fee hike Amazon’s third-party marketplaces account for close to half of the company’s online sales. The company introduced a 5% fuel and inflation charge to its third-party sellers earlier this year, and has now implemented another inflation increase charge. Commencing 14 October, any seller who uses Amazon’s fulfilment service is subject to the price hike, which is set to be an additional 35 cents per item for products sold in the US and Canada. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/17/amazon-third-party-sellers-have-received-their-first-ever-holiday-fee-hike/) Amazon puts a pause on UK grocery shop roll-out as the cost of living increases Amazon has slowed down on its UK roll-out of till-free Amazon Fresh grocery stores following disappointing sales and the rise in cost of living. Allegedly, the company is no longer looking for potential sites to expand and if more stores are opened, they will likely no longer use a till-free system, as consumers become more cautious about spending. [Read more on The Telegraph](https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/08/21/amazon-pauses-uk-grocery-shop-roll-out-following-disappointing/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopee overtakes Alibaba across international markets Shopee has surpassed Alibaba and taken the top spot for sales outside of China. Singapore-based marketplace saw a year-on-year increase of 51.4% at the end of Q2 of this year, while Alibaba saw a 3% drop during the same time period. This can be seen as a promising development for start-ups and their ability to compete with some of the largest ecommerce giants in the market. [Read more on Exchange Wire](https://www.exchangewire.com/blog/2022/08/18/shopee-surpasses-alibaba-in-international-sales-amazon-searches-for-entertainment-exec/) H&M reopens its official store to Alibaba’s Tmall ecommerce platform It has been nearly 18 months since Alibaba removed H&M from its Tmall platform, following H&M’s criticism of human rights abuses in Xinjiang. It is estimated that over a million people, predominantly minorities in the area, have been unlawfully detained in camps across the city. Brands including Nike, Adidas, Burberry and Converse were swept up in the controversy, however H&M was one of the first to be targeted for speaking out about the issue. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/16/hm-returns-to-alibabas-tmall-platform-16-months-after-xinjiang-controversy/) Klarna launches new feature allowing UK consumers to view full online order history Buy-now-pay-later company, Klarna, has launched a new feature on its shopping app, which allows UK consumers to view their full online order history, regardless of whether they purchased the product using Klarna. The feature also shows delivery tracking and aids consumers in managing their online purchases more conveniently. [Read more on The Industry](https://www.theindustry.fashion/klarna-launches-new-feature-allowing-uk-consumers-to-view-full-online-order-history/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Online marketplaces responsible for £280 billion business turnover in the UK Nearly 900,000 UK businesses are currently selling on online marketplaces, generating an estimated £282 billion worth of sales each year. This figure represents 6% of the UK’s annual business turnover, highlighting the notable contribution that marketplaces make to the UK economy, along with the potential for further growth in this area. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/09/online-marketplaces-responsible-for-280-billion-business-turnover-in-uk/)