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Digital Purchases Not Too Attractive to UK Beauty Buyers

Digital sales accounted for just 6.2% of total prestige beauty sales in 2013

When it comes to shopping for beauty products in the UK, the high street is sitting pretty. According to The NPD Group, digital sales accounted for just 6.2% of total prestige beauty sales in the country last year, totaling £102 million ($159.38 million).

Though this share was small, The NPD Group noted that prestige beauty digital sales grew 35% in 2013—a far greater increase than that of the high street, indicating potential for digital to close the gap in the coming years.

Fragrances were the top category for digital sales, rising 35% year over year to grab the majority of UK prestige beauty digital sales. Meanwhile, makeup saw the most growth as it jumped 43% to grab 24% of the overall digital sales pie. The skincare market accounted for a similar share but saw a much lower increase of 28%.

Health and beauty products are among the least popular items for online purchasing. According to a January 2014 survey by VoucherCodes.co.uk, 40% of UK internet users had never bought health and beauty items digitally—the third-highest response.

All of this—combined with the fact that August 2013 research by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that 57% of UK internet users preferred to purchase health and beauty products in-store—indicates that it’s still early days for digital beauty buying, though the future looks bright.

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