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No7 Beauty Company delivers unique snapshot into UK beauty with new report

Gaelle Walker
20 April 2021

The newly-formed No7 Beauty Company has launched the first in what will be a quarterly series of in-depth reports into the UK beauty sector and its consumers.

Leveraging consumer insights from the Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) the inaugural Beautifully Informed report highlights the resilience of beauty in the face of Covid-19 and the trends and innovations expected to drive the industry going forward.

A new Beauty Shopping Basket Index also reveals a snapshot of key UK beauty shopping habits from 2020.

Sales of bath and body products soared during the pandemic, the Index revealed, with increases of up to 125% on some bath and body product lines including the Soap & Glory brand.

“Bath and body sales saw exponential growth as consumers responded to hygiene concerns as well as carving out some critical self-care opportunities to help take some of the stress out of lockdown,” the report said.

Despite the challenging times, skincare also excelled in 2020 with the average consumer spending more on skincare than any other toiletries category and for the first-time, UK shoppers spent more online on facial skincare (50.8%) than offline (49.2%).

The surge in skincare also propelled the serums category to new heights, with a record 2.9 million UK shoppers having bought a serum in the past year and serum sales forecasted to be “strong” over the coming months, the report added.

UK sales of toners, fresheners and face masks also showed strong sales growth in 2020.

Looking to the future, technology is expected to continue playing a powerful role within the beauty sector, with ‘virtual try on’ apps for cosmetic purchases set to remain key, even as stores reopen, to help alleviate consumer hygiene concerns, the report added.

For younger beauty consumers, technology which enables “peer to peer” communications also looks set to become a stronger force, as younger generations increasingly “seek out advice and reassurance from their peers and build digital beauty communities.”

“TikTok is also becoming an increasingly important digital beauty player, especially in colour cosmetics where users have been quick to respond to makeup challenges that include an element of humour and entertainment.

“Clubhouse, the invitation only, audio chat iPhone app has proved popular with the beauty community, especially with those who might have felt shut out or marginalised by the traditional beauty conversations,” the report said.

The link between inner and outer health is also likely to become strengthened in the coming months, as consumers show an increased interest in dietary supplements aimed at supporting skin health and better sleep.

“This appreciation of inner/outer health and beauty combined with broader conversations around perceptions of beauty has also prompted discussion around previously taboo subjects such as the menopause and hormonal imbalance and the effects that these issues can have on mind and body,” the report said.

“This is predicted to lead to a flurry of brands and products aimed at alleviating some of the negative beauty related impacts associated with these conditions such as changes in skin appearance,” it added.

Provenance will also ramp up in importance as consumers become more mindful of tracing product origins, with blockchain technology that enables consumers to access information on a brand’s supply chain, ethics and environmental impact, likely to play a larger role going forward, it added.

The second Beautifully Informed report is expected in the summer.

Launched by the Walgreens Boots Alliance earlier this week, The No7 Beauty Company is a new beauty business designed to develop and drive a new-generation of trusted, affordably-priced beauty brands for all skin types, ethnicities, ages and textures.

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