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.
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).
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.
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.
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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you’re interested in expanding your brand internationally, you’re probably familiar with Tmall. Tmall is Asia-Pacific’s (APAC) largest marketplace, and indisputably the biggest ecommerce powerhouse in the world. It represents a huge opportunity for many brands, but entering the space is also a big challenge to take on.
At Pattern, we recommend brands looking to enter international markets should first focus on dialing in their domestic presence. Once you’re satisfied that your brand is well-represented and optimized locally, you’re ready to think about tackling new regions, like APAC, and launching on marketplaces like Tmall. Our top advice for entering Tmall is to understand and strategize around its three most important metrics: service, delivery, and content.
Service, delivery, and content ratings are the three elements that make up Tmall’s Detailed Seller Rating (DSR) score. Each component is scored on a scale of 1-5 that is displayed publicly on your brand’s Tmall flagship store page. This is meant to help consumers decide whether or not to purchase your products.
DSR scores are important because they’re highly influential in driving conversions—customers see DSRs as a way to quickly understand if a brand is trustworthy and worth buying from. They also matter quite a bit to Tmall itself—they monitor these scores and will take action to close flagship stores with low scores.
Let’s go over each element of the DSR score and some steps you’ll need to take to achieve high ratings.
Service is a huge ecommerce component in APAC marketplaces. In most other regions, product listings are static, and consumers use content and reviews to make a decision about what to purchase. On Tmall, consumers want to interact with your brand and test its validity before buying—each transaction takes at least one human interaction to convert.
So, to get a great service rating, you’ll need to have a large, established customer service team dedicated to Tmall sales that can offer real, human touchpoints and very fast response times. To get an idea of the speed your agents should be capable of producing, in our Tmall benchmarking exercise, 92.5% of brands’ customer service agents replied to queries via live chat within 30 seconds, 5% replied within one minute and the remaining 2.5% of brands took longer than a minute. So, look for a Trade Partner (TP) that has enough resources to compete with those numbers, support your sales, and maintain a good DSR score.
Another thing you’ll really want to focus on is a high-quality delivery experience for consumers. As in other regions around the world, Tmall consumers have high expectations for their delivery experience. In our Chinese consumer polling report that targeted consumers buying from Tmall Global, we found that 6% expected same-day delivery, 15% expected next-day delivery, and 46% expected 2-5 day delivery.They want to receive their products fast and they want the products to be undamaged and pristine upon arrival.
So, to achieve a high score for your delivery capabilities, we highly recommend partnering with a TP or ecommerce accelerator like Pattern (which serves as a TP) who has the ability to facilitate your distribution. Make sure your TP has the right infrastructure in place to support high-quality logistics experiences for all of your consumers—they should have an established, well-oiled delivery process in place and the capability to fluidly add you to their current fulfillment system.
As in every digital marketplace, content is a huge component of the decision-making process for consumers on Tmall—they can’t touch your product with their hands or see it in person before buying, so it’s important they’re empowered to make a good decision on whether or not to purchase based on the videos, images, and copy.
The goal is to make all of the content and relevant information on your flagship site easily-accessible—consumers should be able to visit your page and make a decision about whether or not to buy without navigating to a new site/page and taking their conversions with them. Images with text and extensive product details are a great way to do this, as well as making sure your service team can speak to all aspects of your product with any consumers (via text or chat).
As the world’s foremost brand partner for ecommerce acceleration, Pattern truly understands the significance of international expansion. With regional offices around the world, Pattern knows how to successfully launch and grow brands on Tmall and other marketplaces, with the data, insights, and marketplace intelligence to build the metrics that matter.
It’s important to have a fantastic brand presence, a knowledgeable guide, and a clear go-forward strategy for your best chance at success. With our in-country resources, expert teams, and extensive experience in growing brands around the globe, Pattern can help you get there.
Set up a call to get your international expansion strategy in motion.