Beauty e-commerce lags other categories (except Food) in the U.K. Just 11.3% of Beauty sales in the U.K. occur online vs. 16.5% of overall retail in the country. L2’s Digital IQ Index: Beauty U.K. (released today) finds that brands are investing in tools that replicate the in-store experience and increase visibility. For example, 44% of brands in the study feature guided selling tools on their site and half are e-commerce-enabled. Furthermore, 53% of brands with direct-to-consumer e-commerce offer free shipping.

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Department stores, which account for 21% of skincare and 20% of fragrance sales in the U.K., are stepping up as well. U.K.’s largest department store John Lewis (known for its successful holiday campaigns) raised its online sales by 42% in the week before Black Friday. Pharmacies, where 40% of color cosmetics sales take place, are investing in e-commerce alternatives. Five of the major pharmacies have click-and-collect and 59% of Boots.com orders are collected in-store.

resize-01Yet Beauty brands are not fully embracing Amazon, which is the top destination for gift search during the holidays. Only 38% officially distribute on Amazon, and Burberry and Murad are the only prestige brands to do so. Meanwhile, 99% of brands on the study are unofficially sold on Amazon through third-party retailers. Amazon is also targeting those who search for products on Google through paid search ads. Amazon.co.uk appeared in first-page search results of 30% of non-branded keyword searches on google.co.uk.

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