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Beauty’s Battle for the Top Spot: The Brands, Retailers, and Influencers Leading the Industry

Published May 2, 2024
Published May 2, 2024
Cosmetify

Online beauty destination Cosmetify’s Annual Index is a look into the world's most watched beauty brands, influencers, and retailers. This year's study focuses on social engagement, social media followers, and Google searches to create an overall score (out of 10) to rank each contender. 2023’s Cosmetify Index names Rare Beauty as its hottest brand, Bubble Skincare as the number one rising brand, Sephora as the leading retailer, and Nikkie de Jager as the most powerful influencer. BeautyMatter outlines the rest of the findings:

Hottest Beauty Brands

  • Rare Beauty: 17.2M Google searches, 7M Instagram followers, 7.81 overall score 
  • Charlotte Tilbury: 23.1M Google searches, 6.4M Instagram followers, 7.71 overall score
  • Kiko Milano: 18.6M Google searches, 6M Instagram followers, 7.66 overall score 
  • MAC Cosmetics: 28.1M Google searches, 24.4M Instagram followers 7.3 overall score 
  • Kérastase: 11.7M Google searches, 2.3M Instagram followers, 7.3 overall score
  • The Ordinary: 21.1M Google searches, 12.7M Instagram followers, 7.19 overall score
  • Fenty Beauty: 8.8M Google searches, 12.7M Instagram followers, 7.14 overall score 
  • Huda Beauty: 7.8M Google searches, 54.1M Instagram followers, 7.09 overall score 
  • Olaplex: 14.9M Google searches, 2.4M Instagram followers, 6.53 overall score
  • Maybelline: 11.6M Google searches, 12.2M Instagram followers, 6.53 overall score 

The hottest beauty brands from this year's report are vastly different from those in last year's report. The only brands making the list from the previous report are Fenty Beauty (up two spaces) and Olaplex (down one place), with no sign of last year's biggest brands—Florence by Mills, CeraVe, and Glossier. Last year's list also included brands that went on to struggle in 2023, including The Body Shop, which has since gone into administration. This reflects the ever-changing landscape of beauty, and in a heavily saturated market, consumer interests are constantly changing.

Brands on the Rise: 

  • Bubble Skincare: 2,872% searches increase
  • Byoma: 1,209% searches increase
  • Qure Skincare: 576% searches increase
  • Hello Klean: 541% searches increase 
  • Hismile: 415% searches increase
  • Sol de Janeiro: 319% searches increase
  • Liz Earle: 303% searches increase
  • Glow Recipe: 293% searches increase
  • Drunk Elephant: 270% searches increase
  • Luna Daily: 266% searches increase

Last year's rising star Kiko Milano placed number three overall in the hottest brands of this year, suggesting further success is coming for those on this year's roster. Several of this year's rising stars have become popular particularly with younger generations, including Bubble Skincare, Glow Recipe, Drunk Elephant, and Sol de Janeiro, which have all become viral staples on TikTok over the past twelve months. These brands are all often praised for their colorful and dynamic packaging, a rising trend among these young consumers, which could be a nod to the upcoming consumer trends for this year.

Biggest Retailers:

  • Sephora: 16.1M organic search traffic, 22.1M Instagram followers, 7.65 overall score
  • Beauty Bay: 909.1K organic search traffic, 1.9M Instagram followers, 7.21 overall score
  • Ulta Beauty: 10.3M organic search traffic, 7.2M Instagram followers, 7.06 overall score
  • Nykaa: 6.9M organic search traffic, 2.5M Instagram followers, 7.06 overall score
  • Boots: 15.2M organic search traffic, 1.1M Instagram followers, 6.77 overall score
  • Superdrug: 4.3M organic search traffic, 1M Instagram followers, 5.88 overall score
  • SpaceNK: 672.9K organic search traffic, 493.7K followers, 5 overall score
  • Douglas: 3.8K organic search traffic, 1M Instagram followers, 5 overall score
  • Watsons: 592.2K organic search traffic, 1.1M followers, 4.56 overall score
  • LOOKFANTASTIC: 1.2M organic search traffic, 698.7K Instagram followers, 4.27 overall score

Sephora once again took the top spot in the battle of the retailers, which is likely maintained by its growing retail presence worldwide, including re-entering the UK. Ulta Beauty moved from second place in last year's report to third in this year’s, yet still remains as a go-to touch point for countless beauty consumers. Sally Beauty, which previously placed second, has not made it to this year's list, once again reflecting the hot competition across the industry.

Most Powerful Beauty Influencers (TikTok, Instagram, YouTube): 

  • Nikkie de Jager: 42.7M combined followers, $61.5K combined estimated earnings per post 
  • Bretman Rock: 43.9M combined followers, $53.6K combined estimated earnings per post 
  • James Charles: 83.1M combined followers, $53.5K combined estimated earnings per post
  • Nikita Dragun: 26.3M combined followers, $39K combined estimated earnings per post
  • Huda Kattan: 67.5M combined followers, $37.9K combined estimated earnings per post
  • Mari Maria: 58M combined followers, $30K combined estimated earnings per post
  • Safiya Nygaard: 14.1M combined followers, $22.4K combined estimated earnings per post
  • Alix Earle: 10.2M combined followers, $20.4K combined estimated earnings per post
  • Jeferee Star Cosmetics: 35.7M combined followers, $20K combined estimated earnings per post
  • Mikayla Nougeira: 18.9M combined followers, $19.5K  combined estimated earnings per post

This year's most powerful beauty influencers list contains a hybrid of veteran names that have shown up consistently in recent years, including James Charles, Nikkie de Jager, and Mari Maria, alongside new entries such as Alex Earle and Mikayla Nougeira. Despite declaring himself “no longer a beauty influencer” in February 2023, Bretman Rock continues to hold his presence on the most powerful beauty influencer roster, suggesting consumers keep a loyalty to content creators they have become connected to.

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