Beauty Ecommerce in 2023: Trends & Examples to Capture $65 Billion in Consumer Spend

November 10, 2022

Beauty Ecommerce in 2023 trend beauty ecommerce

To say beauty ecommerce growth is exploding would be an understatement.In fact, ecommerce sales in the beauty and personal care verticals have increased 16% year over year. It’s why the health and beauty ecommerce industry is heading toward a $65.3 billion valuation in 2023.

So how can you claim your share of this consumer spend?

Your website design can play a huge part. The online shopping experience you’re delivering plays a major role in how much—and how often—shoppers buy from you.

Here we’ll get into five major beauty trends we’re seeing, plus nine best beauty ecommerce sites that demonstrate what’s most effective today.

You can skip ahead to see the top ecommerce beauty brand sites we cover if you’d like:

The state of beauty ecommerce in 2023

It’s a great time to be selling ecommerce beauty products online.

Studies show that US buyers spend up to $50 per month on beauty products online, and now half of consumers are spending more on beauty-related purchases than they did pre-pandemic.

The best part? Beauty consumers aren’t always loyal to the brands they’ve purchased from, making acquisition easier than most other verticals.

  • One third of shoppers say that between 26—50% of their online beauty purchases are products they’ve never tried before.
  • And when 89% of consumers are always on the lookout for new skin care products, a personalized, especially memorable ecommerce experience can often sway new shoppers to buy.

And mastering customer loyalty is more profitable than you might think. Some 40% of consumers say that when they’re purchasing a habitual product, they’re somewhat likely to also buy a new product, too—increasing repeat customer rate, AOV, and revenue simultaneously.

beauty shoppers try new products beauty ecommerce
Your brand can take advantage of the likelihood a repeat visitor will often, also try something new

But despite industry growth, operating a beauty ecommerce brand has its challenges—largely the fact customers can’t interact with the products. Shoppers can’t try on their next makeup or skincare item, or see how shades look on their skin.

Beauty products are personal, too. Each customer has their own preferred formula texture, pain point, and makeup style. Catering to these preferences gets increasingly difficult as you scale your DTC beauty brand and product lines.

But this doesn’t mean it’s impossible. The design of your online beauty store and omnichannel marketing strategy can ease pain points at scale—giving customers the confidence they need to buy.

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5 ecommerce beauty trends for 2023

Beauty shoppers spend big bucks on cosmetics, skincare, and hair care products. And it’s not set to slow down.

Let’s take a look at the five biggest trends beauty companies can capitalize on:

1. Live commerce

Not all consumers engage with beauty brands asynchronously. Some prefer real-time engagement, which is why 7.6% of beauty retailers have participated in a live stream over the past year—the second-largest vertical beaten only by apparel and fashion.

Live commerce happens when you broadcast a live video demonstration of your product through digital channels like Instagram Live, TikTok Live, or Amazon Live.

For many retailers, live commerce is transforming the shopping experience—and for good reason. Shoppers can tune in and have real-time conversations with marketing managers or influencers the brand partnered with for the live stream.

Beauty shoppers get to see products in different lighting or settings, endorsed by people they trust, alongside hundreds of others that share the same interests. And if the retailer syncs its livestream with its ecommerce platform, customers can click, discover, and buy within seconds.

beauty live commerce beauty ecommerce
Based on livestreaming share by category, makeup ecommerce stands to gain from this trend.

2. Subscription boxes

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the subscription box industry. Brands like Birchbox and Glossybox—both of which specialize in beauty subscription boxes—saw a huge uplift in customers when people were forced to limit contact.

beauty subscription industry beauty ecommerce

Interestingly, beauty brands who sell direct-to-consumer (DTC) are following suit. Over a quarter of all US subscriptions come from beauty and cosmetic brands for two reasons.

  • The first, subscription boxes make customer retention the default. Instead of working to re-convert past customers, a subscription automatically charges their card on file each month.
  • Not only this, but beauty products are frequently replenished. Whether the cosmetics have passed their expiry date or simply been used up, the subscription model ensures that no customers go without.

3. Clean and sustainable beauty

An increasing number of consumers are becoming more aware of the beauty products they’re putting on their skin. Clean, sustainable beauty is on the rise—and expected to reach a value of $22 billion by 2024.

It’s a beauty ecommerce trend on an upward trajectory:

  • Spate reports 32,000 people search for clean products each month. Amongst them are beauty-specific search terms, such as “clean beauty products,” “clean beauty brands,” and “best clean beauty brands.”
  • Some 76% of beauty shoppers are focusing on buying products that are sustainably made.
  • The biggest consideration when younger generations shop for beauty products is whether it contains natural, non-toxic ingredients.

You can capitalize on this trend with clean, sustainable messaging and product descriptions on your beauty ecommerce website.

Credo, for example, highlights how its hair care products meet the brand’s clean standards. None of the ingredients are on its “dirty list.”

credo clean beauty trend beauty ecommerce

4. “Dupe” positioning

Not all beauty shoppers have the luxury of spending disposable income on new cosmetics. But that doesn’t mean they want to forgo the experience altogether.

Dupes—lower-priced versions of similar products—are taking over the beauty industry. Google reported a 40% year-over-year increase in searches for the term “dupe.” Retailers with lower priced products are pitting their products against the luxury brands, promising beauty shoppers a similarly-luxurious product without the hefty price tag.

“I don’t think ‘dupe’ has the same connotation anymore, where it’s like you’re being tricked. Usually, when people are talking about a dupe, it’s because they found something that was just like something else they loved.”— Kimberley Ring Allen, founder of Ring Communications, (via Modern Retail)

If your product’s a great dupe for another popular, luxury item—carefully targeting search terms around ‘dupe’ for a given product or ‘alternative’ could be a great tactic for 2023.

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5. Personalized product recommendations

The cosmetics industry has come a long way, but 37% of consumers still feel under-represented in beauty advertisements.

Poor representation is a significant purchase objection. After all—how can beauty shoppers find the right products if they don’t see cosmetics modeled on people with their skin tone, eye color, or face shape?

Personalized product recommendations help you overcome these challenges as your beauty ecommerce brand scales.

Take Jones Road Beauty’s “find your shade” quiz, for example. It uses OctaneAI’s Shopify integration to quiz potential customers and choose models with the same skin tone, age, and skincare concern most similar to their own. The end result is a list of personalized product recommendations tailored to their answers, with an “add to cart” button to reinforce a purchase.

jones road beauty quiz 1 beauty ecommerce

The 9 best beauty ecommerce websites—and what you can steal

Ok, so now that we know the biggest beauty trends paving the way in the industry, the next question is: how can you optimize your online store to capitalize on them?

Let’s take a look at nine of the top beauty ecommerce sites and how you can replicate their strategy to improve conversions.

1. Beardbrand

Beardbrand has a unique approach to selling beard cosmetics through its online store. Unlike many other beauty retailers, the brand has a no discount policy. But this doesn’t mean it fails to give potential customers a better deal.

Its Ultimate Grooming Kit is evidence. Beardbrand’s best-selling products are bundled together in one package, offering 11 grooming products for $200 (instead of the $336 it’d come to if each product was priced individually.) And, as an incentive for shoppers to choose this option, Beardbrand throws in a lifetime membership to its private online community, Beardbrand Alliance, which typically costs $90.

After reading that, you might think the bundle sells itself. It does—largely because of the long-form landing page design Beardbrand uses to promote the bundle.

Beardbrand uses Shogun Page Builder to display nine individual SKUs on one page, all while retaining the key features of a default product page, including the item’s price, reviews, and images. James Wilson, Beardbrand’s growth marketing manager, says this helped because “I wanted to emulate the feeling of shopping in a brick-and-mortar beauty store.”

“In-store, you shop by section, by brand or by fragrance, not by individual product. Shogun allowed us to do that quickly and in-house.”

The impact of this bundle page was profound. Customers who viewed Beardbrand’s landing page had a 19% higher average order value, and conversion rate increased by 40%. That impact from a single page is unheard of.

beardbrand custom kit beauty ecommerce

What you can steal:

  • Showcase your best-selling beauty products in one discounted bundle.
  • Allow shoppers to mix-and-match the items in their shopping cart.
  • Use a landing page builder for Shopify—like Shogun Page Builder—to enrich default product pages.

#cta-visual-pb#<cta-title>Empower your team to create your Hydrogen storefront<cta-title>For stores going headless with Shopify Hydrogen, Shogun Page Builder Advanced allows your whole team to create gorgeous store pages faster.Learn more

2. e.l.f Cosmetics

Almost three-quarters of global shoppers shop on TikTok when they discover something in the feed, and beauty retailer e.l.f Cosmetics is taking advantage of its familiarity.

Beauty fanatics visiting e.l.f Cosmetics’ website are greeted with a huge home page banner. It’s titled “Gone Viral” and written in the infamous TikTok font. It showcases cosmetics which have gone viral on the platform with over 10 million views. No wonder the brand was ranked as the preferred beauty brand for Gen Z.

This campaign is a prime example of how social proof can influence online sales. By showcasing viral TikTok products, social media users are giving their seal of approval for the brand’s products. It’s easier for first-time customers to trust the retailer if thousands of others have, too.

elf cosmetics tiktok viral beauty ecommerce

This campaign continues through e.l.f Cosmetics’ product pages. Shoppers see a “gone viral” TikTok sticker on the main photo. There’s also a product recommendation carousel at the bottom of the page, which spans other product categories and increases average order value.

elf cosmetics gone viral tag beauty ecommerce

What you can steal:

  • Use a carousel to recommend complementary products to the one a visitor’s browsing.
  • Lean on social media analytics as social proof, such as TikTok views or Instagram followers.
  • Continue the same design and messaging across each touchpoint in your customer journey, from email marketing campaigns to your home and product pages.

3. Real Techniques

Real Techniques manufacturers makeup brushes and sponges. It doesn’t sell products directly to the consumer through its online store. Instead, it acts as an online product catalog that diverts interested customers towards one of its global distribution partners, such as Ulta or Target.

Back in 2011, the brand partnered with two makeup artists with substantial social media and YouTube followings. You’ll notice the content of Real Techniques’ online store relies heavily on collaborations with influencers.

We can see this on the homepage, which showcases a YouTube video that collates influencer endorsements for its makeup sponge:

To further add credibility, beauty shoppers see a carousel of its latest Instagram posts beneath each product. The branded hashtag, #RealTechniques, encourages new customers to share their own photos. This gives Real Techniques the ability to collect and monetize user-generated content (UGC) at scale.

real techniques ugc carousel beauty ecommerce

What you can steal:

  • Create a branded hashtag to collect and organize UGC for your brand.
  • Repost UGC on Instagram and use an Instagram carousel feed to showcase fresh UGC.
  • Repost UGC on your makeup brand site
  • Collaborate with beauty influencers and embed endorsements on product pages.

​​4. Doe Lashes

Educating customers on the value of your product doesn’t always mean shouting about its ingredients or formulation. In Doe Lashes’ case, beauty shoppers viewing its product page see an “us vs them” table, which breaks down how the retailer’s false eyelashes stack up against others on the market.

It’s an interesting way of framing your value proposition. Doe Lashes’ USP is formatted in a way that’s easy on the eye without walls of text that are often off putting to online shoppers.

doe lashes comparison 1 beauty ecommerce
Part of Doe Lashes’ comparison includes the fact its lashes are vegan and cruelty free—aligned to the beauty ecommerce trends we identified earlier.

What’s interesting about Doe Lashes’ beauty ecommerce website, too, is its use of social proof. The brand has an army of loyal evangelists who post about their purchases on a social channel. Doe Lashes combine reviews with UGC to showcase these and build trust. It appeals to the 38% of beauty shoppers whose reliance on UGC is greater than before the pandemic.

doe lashes reviews beauty ecommerce

What you can steal:

  • Encourage previous customers to upload a photo of themselves wearing the beauty product when reviewing their last purchase.
  • Allow customers to filter reviews by skin care concern.
  • Benchmark your beauty products against competitors to showcase your USP creatively.

5. The Honest Beauty

Founded by Jessica Alba, The Honest Company expanded its product catalog with a range of skincare products.

The product pages (and overall shopping experience) for these items is vastly different from others, such as baby or cleaning products. Beauty shoppers need specific information about skin care products, such as its ingredients and the benefits of using it.

We can see both elements in play on The Honest Company’s product page for its skincare serum. Benefits are clearly laid out in every minute touchpoint, from the use of “pure” in the product title to the quote from its founder.

What’s more, the beauty retailer communicates through visuals like GIFs and image stickers. Product photos have a sticker overlay promising it “reduces signs of aging”—the biggest pain point for beauty shoppers. It’s much more eye-catching than standard, one-dimensional product photography.

honest beauty product page beauty ecommerce

What you can steal:

  • Add sticker-like overlays to product photos to draw out the benefits of using it.
  • Experiment with GIFs, products, and photos to give online shoppers a 360-view of your beauty products.
  • Pull on the pain point your product solves through the title, product description, expert endorsement, and imagery.

6. Stryx

Stryx is a men’s cosmetics and skincare brand. Its ecommerce website forgoes traditional lightweight branding in favor of dark, bold colors and text that appeal to its target audience.

Perhaps the most engaging part of its website, though, is its use of rich merchandising. Shoppers browsing Stryx’s homepage have an interactive shopping experience. As visitors scroll down the page, the photo of its hero product slowly changes to reveal important details. The focus becomes entirely on the product’s USP.

stryx rich merchandising 1 beauty ecommerce

What you can steal:

  • Go headless and implement a flexible frontend for Shopify. Page Builder Advanced gives beauty brands going headless with Hydrogen the flexibility to create especially rich merchandising experiences for customers.
  • Use scrolling elements to break down important parts of your beauty products.

7. The Lip Bar

Earlier, we mentioned how online beauty shoppers often feel underrepresented when searching for products.

The Lip Bar’s ecommerce website aims to solve that problem with a virtual “try on” feature. It’s promoted in category and product pages for its best-selling items. Customers can use their device’s camera to overlay the shade on their own skin tone, or select the model most similar to them.

the lip bar try on beauty ecommerce

The obvious benefit of this beauty ecommerce strategy is an improvement in conversion rate. However, allowing people to preview what the product looks like on their own skin while online shopping can reduce product returns.

The vast majority of ecommerce returns happen because the product looked different in-person—a problem is alleviated entirely if a customer has a true-to-life view of the product they’re buying through your online store.

the lip bar try on virtually beauty ecommerce

What you can steal:

  • Give shoppers the ability to choose a model that most reflects their skin tone.
  • Build a progressive web app (PWA) to create interactive shopping experiences, like a sliding scale before and after using your cosmetics.
  • Use artificial intelligence tools like Netguru to give beauty shoppers the ability to preview what your cosmetics look like on their own face.

8. Glossier

Since its launch in 2014, Glossier has made waves in the beauty industry. The design of its products and online store largely contributed to its success—including its ecommerce navigation.

The navigation is a critical part of any online customer journey. Whether someone lands on your homepage or a product page, giving shoppers the ability to search your website has a domino impact on its conversion rate.

In Glossier’s case, beauty fanatics can browse its best-selling products or choose the category they’re most interested in—regardless of where they landed.

glossier navigation beauty ecommerce

To further help with product discovery, Glossier uses a product recommendation carousel beneath each item.

If Glossier runs retargeting campaigns to push people back to the item they viewed, for example, these product recommendations can become a last-ditch effort to convert beauty shoppers. They’re positioned at the bottom of the page—if someone isn’t convinced to buy the item they’re currently viewing, Glossier keeps them on the website and collects data on what they are interested in.

glossier product carousel beauty ecommerce

What you can steal:

  • Optimize your ecommerce navigation to divert shoppers towards your best sellers.
  • Enable breadcrumbs to help shoppers landing on a product page discover similar items in that category.
  • Add a product recommendation carousel to the bottom of your product pages as a last-ditch attempt to keep beauty shoppers on your ecommerce site.

9. TULA Skincare

TULA Skincare is a premier skincare brand that’s seen incredible growth since its launch in 2014. It partners with retail distributors like Ulta Beauty and Sephora and invests heavily in influencer marketing to attract potential customers.

The shopping experience TULA gives its website visitors is second to none. The brand has total creative control over its beauty website—without compromising on site speed.

“Speed is incredibly important and is one of the biggest reasons we have gone headless. By building our own frontend, we can really optimize speed and the shopping experience. How quickly your website loads, and how fast your customer can navigate through it, is a huge determinant of performance.”
— Savannah Sachs, CEO of TULA Skincare

tula subscription beauty ecommerce

A highlighted “subscribe and save” deal is just one design element TULA implemented in their swap to a flexible frontend with Shogun. Beauty shoppers, who we’ve already discovered replenish items frequently, can opt into their subscription model and get new products shipped on the schedule that suits them best.

Plus, to maximize the impact of TULA’s influencer marketing campaigns, the beauty ecommerce website displays UGC across the entire website. This is implemented throughout the Shogun-powered site, allowing TULA to showcase high-resolution UGC without sacrificing site performance or load times.

tula skincare ugc beauty ecommerce

What you can steal:

  • Describe who your products are best suited for—such as those with oily, blemish-prone, or dry skin.
  • Subtly nudge beauty shoppers towards a subscription model and create a consistent revenue stream for your business.

Supercharge your beauty ecommerce experience

Much like their purchase decisions, there’s a lot that goes into a perfect shopping experience for online beauty consumers. And as we’ve covered here, website design plays a huge role in a customer’s likelihood of making a purchase.

We hope you’ll use these beauty ecommerce trends to fine-tune the messaging and marketing of your store.

#cta-visual-pb#<cta-title>Empower your team to create your Hydrogen storefront<cta-title>For stores going headless with Shopify Hydrogen, Shogun Page Builder Advanced allows your whole team to create gorgeous store pages faster.Learn more

Elise Dopson

Elise Dopson is a freelance writer for B2B commerce and martech companies. When she's not writing, you'll find her in the Peak Freelance community or on Twitter.

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