In its latest annual report, Estée Lauder Companies mentioned the word millennial 19 times. As evident by the company’s recent acquisition spree of high-growth brands (e.g. Kilian GLAMGLOW, Le Labo), the company is focusing on targeting a young consumer base. So far, this strategy has worked as Estée Lauder Companies’ non-heritage, on-trend brands (e.g. MAC, Smashbox) comprise 60% of the sales mix and are 1.5x the size of established brands like Clinique, Estée Lauder.


However, L2’s report on Beauty Sampling Estée Lauder’s sampling program shows the brand is under-leveraging opportunities to reach new customers – especially millennials. Beauty product sampling has become a par for the course as a marketing strategy, and 30% of beauty enthusiasts cite sampling as a top influence to purchase. Sephora is particularly useful sites for reaching millennials through sample distributions, as the majority of the site’s visitors are under 35 years old. The retailer offers a wide range of sampling opportunities for brands, from basics like foundation to trendy items like highlighters.


The conglomerate’s share of samples on Sephora and Nordstrom pales in comparison to brands owned by L’Oréal and LVMH. Estée Lauder brands comprised just 5% of unique samples on Sephora and 18% on Nordstrom. In contrast, L’Oréal accounts for 32% of unique samples on Nordstrom and 21% of unique samples on Sephora. LVMH has concentrated its sampling efforts on Sephora, which it owns, accounting for 28% of samples on the beauty retailer. LVMH brands comprise just 3% of samples on Nordstrom.


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