Beauty lifts High Street gloom as CEW UK unveils the most comprehensive mapping of the UK Beauty Industry

While times may be tough on the High Street, UK Beauty is outperforming other sectors of retail, posting sales increases of 18% among premium department stores and 9% among traditional specialist retailers between 2015-2017. These were some of the findings of a report comprehensively mapping the size and scope of the UK Beauty Industry, commissioned by CEW UK, the leading beauty organisation.

While 1 in 3 UK consumers are shopping online for beauty, spending an estimated £1.1bn, the CEW report revealed sales in specialist retailers (such as Boots, Superdrug, The Body Shop) increased from £3.4bn to £3.7bn from 2015-2017. Over the same period, beauty sales through department stores rose from £1.7bn to £2bn, as consumers sought out prestige beauty brands on the high street.

Caroline Neville MBE, President of CEW commented “Beauty appears to be more resilient than other sectors on the High Street. Bricks and mortar retailing is still crucial to beauty and the primary medium for consumers to interact and purchase brands”. She added “UK Beauty is celebrated across the globe for its creative, entrepreneurial spirit and consistently produces enduring iconic brands. The sector’s continual success lies in an ability to innovate, stay relevant and be exciting. This is reflected in our performance in what is one of the toughest trading periods in decades for the High Street.”

“By working with Mintel to deliver this report, we wanted to clearly demonstrate the success of the UK Beauty Industry, at home and around the world, and map in detail the demographics and scale of the sector,” Caroline said. Mintel are recognised in the beauty industry as the leading market intelligence agency and examined key factors attributed to spending, employment, the success and future of the UK Beauty Industry.

The report found that in 2017 UK consumers spent £25.1bn on beauty, with this figure set to rise to £26.9bn by 2022. While beauty lags behind British Fashion’s contribution of £32bn to the country’s GDP, due largely to higher unit retail prices, over one million people are employed in the UK Beauty Industry compared to the 890,000 working in the fashion sector.

“The UK beauty and personal care industry has quickly taken advantage of advancements in digital technology and the consumer thirst for new products. Countless men and women have set up their own beauty businesses – exploiting cross border sales, increasingly penetrating new markets and we wanted to map that success” said Jane Henderson, Global President of Beauty and Personal Care, Mintel.


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