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 27, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon drives renewable energy push with 71 new projects Amazon is planning to add 2.7 gigawatts of clean energy capacity through a couple of new projects as the company attempts to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. The ecommerce business will soon have a total of 329 renewable energy projects, generating 50,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy, which is equivalent to powering 4.6 million US homes every year. [Read more on Reuters]( Amazon launches Prime Early Access Sale Amazon is launching a new 2-day shopping event for its Prime members only, beginning on the 11th of October. Across 15 countries, Prime customers will have access to the shopping event, with thousands of deals on offer globall, ranging from fashion to electronics to essentials. The event has the purpose of giving Prime users the chance to spread the cost of items over the winter months, 6 weeks ahead of Black Friday. [Read more on Charged Retail]( --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopify unveils new localisation tool Shopify is launching a new localisation tool, called Translate & Adapt, which works with Shopify Markets to offer localisation for sellers who are looking to expand into new markets. The tool translates a user’s online store into different languages, including product pages and information pages. Merchants are also able to create different shipping terms for each market using the new tool, which allows international expansion and offers a more localised consumer experience, unveiling new potential. [Read more on Ecommerce News]( Etsy is set to invest hundreds of millions into its marketing platform Etsy CEO claims that the company is on route to spend more than $570 million USD on marketing this year. Even during a time of macroeconomic pressure, inflation and rising interest rates, the company is preparing itself and its sellers for the upcoming holiday season and is focused on retaining interest from buyers. [Read more on Yahoo News]( --- Other Ecommerce News --- Meta looks to cut costs by 10% in the coming months Meta employees are facing job redundancies as the company plans to cut its costs by 10% over the next few months. Meta reported a 22% YoY increase in costs and expenses, totalling over $20 billion USD. The cuts are expected to come in the form of job redundancies as a result of department reorganisations rather than formal layoffs. [Read more on Charged Retail]( DHL teams up with Quadient to offer smart locker deliveries in the UK DHL and tech company, Quadient, have partnered to offer smart lockers parcel pick-up throughout the UK. The new contactless, secure locker stations will give recipients more choice and flexibility to receive their parcels at a time and location best suited to them. The partnership plans to install 500 locker stations across the country by the end of 2022. [Read more on Charged Retail]( The online fashion market is set to be worth nearly $170 billion USD in 2025 The European online fashion retail market is set to grow 50% by 2025, with an online turnover of $170 billion USD, which is 33% of the retail branch’s total. Cross-border marketplaces prove to be the largest drivers of this growth, with online websites and apps like Vinted largely pushing the market’s online growth. Zalando recently became the largest cross-border fashion retailer/marketplace, responsible for 11.7% of the online market’s share. [Read more on Ecommerce News](
Sept 20, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 20th September 2022

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Sept 20, 2022

4 Ecommerce Marketplace Consultant Must-Haves

Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces. 

Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.

So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.

Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products. 

What is an Ecommerce Consultant?

An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.

An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.

Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.

1. Brand Obsession/Specialization/Passion

At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services. 

2. Proven Results

It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.

3. Wide Range of Marketplace Expertise

It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.

4. Network of Resources

The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.

Achieve Your Ecommerce Goals With Pattern

Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces. 

With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.

Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.