In Insight, Retail

The battle for the beauty consumer continues to tighten as Ulta makes investments in technology and increases their store footprint. While Sephora has been a regular at the top of the Gartner L2 Digital IQ Index: Specialty Retail this year, Ulta secured the number-two spot behind Sephora. Some updates on the Sephora vs Ulta retail beauty battle:

  • Sephora, the sole Genius brand for the past six years, kept the top spot, while Ulta claimed the second spot in Gartner L2’s ranking, with a 13% score increase since last year.
  • Ulta beat out Sephora as Gen Z’s favorite beauty retailer in 2019 for the first time ever in the 37th installment of Piper Jaffray’s Teen Survey.
  • Ulta has 595 brands online, compared to Sephora’s 362, adding over 100 new brands since last summer.
  • Ulta is winning not only on variety, but also affordability. The price of a skincare product on Ulta’s site is on average $10 less than that of Sephora’s.
  • Ulta also owns more physical retail locations than Sephora, with plans to open 80 new stores in 2019.
  • Ulta launched buy online, pick up in store, which is a capability that Sephora still does not offer.
  • More customers downloaded Ulta’s mobile app than Sephora’s in the past year, and the app saw 53% growth in monthly average users year over year.
  • Ulta offers coupons based on inputted consumer preferences, releasing them within the mobile app before including them on its site.
  • Ulta has invested in robust desktop navigation functionality like search previews that include product images and quick view on category pages. Sephora lacks product images within on-site search functionality.

Read more on GartnerL2.

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