The Global Cosmetics Market

Why should e-commerce marketers focus on cosmetics?

Traditionally, cosmetics industry heavily relies on physical stores. Because decision making needs to be backed up by physical trial. Consumers willing to check the color, the look and smell of a product. Nowadays, trends are rapidly changing. Partly because of Covid-19 and partly because of the developing technologies, in cohesion with social media’s influencing capabilities. Online retailers are clearly benefitting from these changes.

What constitutes as the cosmetics market?

In general, when we think about cosmetics, we take into consideration the following products. Make-up, decorative cosmetics for the face, lips, eyes, nails and natural cosmetics and products applied to the skin. This colorful market can be segmented by the following categories.

By Category
  • Hair Care
  • Skin Care
  • Makeup
  • Others
By Gender
  • Men
  • Women
By Distributional Channel
  • Speciality Stores
  • Supermarkets/Hypermarkets
  • Online/e-commerce Channels
  • Others
By Region
  • By Region (Value)
  • Europe
  • South America
  • Middle East & Africa


The European cosmetics market size

The market value of beauty and personal care products in Western Europe reached approximately 84.3 billion euros in 2018 and was forecasted to increase by a further five billion by 2020. This number is significantly higher than Eastern European countries due to the larger markets and higher populations. In the east, the market value for 2018 was estimated at 23.1 billion euros.

Cosmetics Infographic

The biggest online cosmetics markets in the European Union

The largest national markets for cosmetics and personal care products within Europe, based on their cosmetics consumption value in 2019, were:
  • Germany with around (€14.04 billion euros)
  • France with around (€11.43 billion euros)
  • the UK with around (€10.65 billion euros)
  • Italy with around (€10.55 billion euros)
  • Spain with around (€7.13 billion euros)

Up-and-coming markets within Europe

When we further segment the European market geographically, we can point out, that traditional cosmetics brands like L’Oréal, Lancôme, are mainly resident in western Europe. But biggest expected growth will occur in Russia by 28.1% from the year 2019 to 2025. * 

*Source: Statista Digital Market Outlook - Study id 48844

When we are segmenting by operational platforms, we can say that, online and e-commerce markets are not taking over yet. Meanwhile, they are gradually taking away from brick-and-mortar sales.

How to get ahead in the European cosmetics market (trends)

Experts agree on that COVID-19 negatively affected sales. They are also not questioning the fact that brick-and-mortar shops still dominate the industry. However, question rises. Whether cosmetics in the e-commerce segment in 2021. and in the upcoming years will grow? The answer is a definite yes.
  • Therefore, any company in 2021 and beyond must be digitally native. This includes advertising online, making use of all relevant social media platforms and influencers if necessary.
  • Must target consumers who are willing to pay higher prices to receive a better customer experience along with higher quality
  • Even though brand sites have a good reputation, surprisingly, online shoppers tend to make their purchases through retailers’ sites. This fact alone contains a huge potential for online shop owners. Source:
  • Big brands are already utilizing technologies that small retailers might not be able to offer to their consumers. These technologies are including augmented reality, the use of chatbots along AI. We also have to mention virtual trials, interactive and personalized solutions. On one hand these features might only be available at the big brand's website, on the other hand, purchases still can be realized at e-commerce sites.
  • E-commerce sites that specialized in cosmetics, must be able to handle logistical challenges, which includes taking care of returned items. It is a wise decision to team up with a service provider, that offers such a solution. Spring GDS Global can offer such a service to their clients. This service is called Spring Integrated Returns.
  • Ethical brands and e-commerce sites will have higher chances to convert their target audience into a loyal and returning customers, if they can offer cruelty, or microplastic free products or even carbon-free shipping options. It is wort communicating these facts to your audience because they tend to care more about such data, than you might initially had thought. So, why don’t you take a closer look at our solution called Spring Green, which offers your customers a possibility for carbon-free shipping.
  • Finally, why should e-commerce marketers focus on cosmetics? While the rift between retailers and brand sites continues to widen, beauty and personal care has become the next big thing in e-commerce. Meeting the unique needs of today’s consumers, easily gratified through digital means and interactive, personalized solutions, beauty has a strong potential to overpower the fashion segment, which is currently the biggest in e-commerce.
  • Source: