In Insight, Retail

The competition for the beauty shopper is fierce. In 2016 Amazon quietly became the largest online beauty retailer, capturing 21% of the online beauty market and inserting itself in the Ulta vs Sephora beauty battle. However, the battle for shoppers in brick-and-mortar beauty remains between Sephora and Ulta. According to Cowen’s Consumer Tracker, Ulta has been pulling ahead since October of 2018.

SALES

  • Ulta just announced sales were up 14.1% in 2018, reaching $6.7 billion.
  • Although LVMH doesn’t break out Sephora from within its Selective Retailing group, it highlighted Sephora’s sales growth as contributing to its 10% corporate growth in 2018.
  • EMarketer estimates Amazon reached $16 billion in total health, personal care, and beauty product sales, a 37.9% increase over 2017.

STORE COUNT 

  • Ulta has about 1,174 locations and has plans to open 75 new stores a year for the next three years.
  • Sephora has more than 1,100 locations (freestanding and within JC Penney stores) and announced plans to open 35 new stores in 2019.

CONSUMER PREFERENCE

  • Cowens one survey question sums up all the analysis floating around: “When shopping for beauty products (e.g. cosmetics, skincare, fragrance, hair products), I prefer to shop at:”
  • Since October of last year Ulta has been the top beauty retailer of choice among consumers based on the Cowen survey.

MOBILE APP

  • SimilarWeb reports that 60% of Ulta visitors in 2018 came via its mobile app, as compared with 48% of Sephora’s.

ONLINE TRAFFIC DEMOGRAPHICS

  • Ulta and Sephora are both strong among the under-34 age group, but Ulta attracts a wider age range of customers.
  • In terms of its online traffic, 32% of Ulta visitors are 45 years and older, as compared with 25% for Sephora, according to SimilarWeb.

Photo: via Ulta

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