Confused in buying cosmetics? Blame or thank online shopping for boom in market

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Indians are now spoilt for choice when it comes to makeup and beauty products as online shopping has literally brought countless brands, both Indian and global, to their doorstep. Smashbox, Becca, Nyx, Innisfree, Bobbi Brown, Bodyography and Sephora are some of the brands that have started selling in India in the last couple of years. Amazon India, the second largest e-retailer in the country, said beauty is among the top five categories on the portal. “It is growing at over 100 per cent yearon-year.

Beauty category is of critical importance for the site as it gets two-thirds of its sales from new customers,” said Amazon India category leader (beauty) Meghna Apparao.

Faced with more choices, conscious Indians have been investing more in themselves. The beauty and cosmetics market, which was about $3 billion in 2010, has now more than doubled to $6.5 billion.

It is set to touch $20 billion by 2025, according to Red Seer Consulting. “Indians have always had a certain level of interest in beauty given our Ayurveda connect. Over time, more brands have come in and their marketing spends have gone up. The category’s online penetration has really increased and that’s one of the key differences,” said chief business officer Nihir Parikh of The five-year-old e-retailer of about 700 brands, which also has offline stores now, started out with about a hundred brands.

An average order includes four products with a total value of Rs 1,500, Parikh said. “At present, makeup and beauty segment’s online market share is about $150 million. By 2025, it is estimated to grow by 10 times to $1.6 billion,” said Red Seer Consulting’s head of retail (consumer packaged goods practice) Shubham Anand.


Health & Glow, a beauty chain which has recently started retailing online as well, said it has added over 70 international brands in the last couple of years such as Lovea, Anatomicals, Fruiser, Ginvera, Karite Buerre, Delon, BeYU, Pure Dead Sea, Beauty Formula, Dear Body, Taft, Gliss. ” Disposable incomes are rising, and people have already indulged in clothes and footwear. Now they want try cosmetics,” said Anand. The trend is also fuelled by Indians’ increasing comfort in shopping online. While a majority of the shoppers are women, men also buy shaving creams, razors, aftershaves and oils. Half the time, women buy cosmetics for men, retailers add.

“The under-35 generation has become a ratings-reviews an blogger/social media-driven community. More than touch and feel, they need to be equipped with enough information and confidence to buy online,” says Nykaa’s Parikh.

Health and Glow spokesperson agrees. “Our customers are constantly looking to find out more information, be it about new brands and products or about any concerns they are facing or getting the most out of the product that they use.” While the chain informs concerned users with tutorials, hacks and tips on its blog, Nykaa mimics the offline experience online by using technology.

“We show how different colours look on their skin tone,” says Parikh. He adds that even brands without any physical presence have flown off their shelves. “That happens when it’s a great brand with a solid reputation or when we educate customers enough as people are willing to experiment.” Retailers say luxury products are also picking up as customers are willing to splurge on cosmetics. Amazon said it has a separate category for brands such as Forest Essentials, Kama Ayurveda, Davidoff, Calvin Klein and L’Occitane. “Luxury used to be three per cent of our sales. Today, it is 15 per cent. This is also because, earlier, tech savvy customers were up to 30 years old. Now the segment has gone up to 35 years. As you grow older, you have more money to spend,” Parikh said.