2020 holiday foot traffic among beauty boutique retailers falls 45%
Foot traffic in beauty boutiques took a sharp dip during the 2020 holiday season, according to a new report from Kline, a consulting and market intelligence company.
In the report, Kline’s analysis of foot traffic data from SafeGraph revealed that holiday foot traffic for single-brand beauty retailers, like Lush and L Brands-owned Bath & Body Works, was down a whopping 45% in November and December, as the Covid-19 pandemic kept consumers away from in-store shopping. Foot traffic was also impacted by many beauty boutique retailers temporarily closing their brick-and-mortar stores during the pandemic, and permanently closing stores that weren't performing well prior to the pandemic.
Kline noted that despite the drop in foot traffic, sales for beauty boutique retailers "did not decline as significantly," thanks to higher consumer spending and stocking up during visits.
The company noted that sales for the boutique retailer channel had been steadily rising for decades, a pattern that continued into 2020. Kline found that beauty sales through this channel in January and February 2020 combined were up 26%, a result was largely driven by Bath & Body Works’ post-holiday semi-annual sale and pre-pandemic stockpiling of items like hand soaps. In addition, Kline noted that Lush, "continued to benefit from ingredient transparency in its products and approachable price points, all the while leveraging an immersive in-store shopping experience."
Fragrances also performed well, Kline found, particularly with brands Jo Malone London and Le Labo.
"Throughout 2020, these retailers were able to strike a balance between shifting to digital and creating a pandemic-friendly shopping environment upon reopening stores without compromising on the brand promise," Kline said.
"While store re–openings varied by retailer in this channel — most Bath & Body Works stores had reopened by end of Q2, while L’Occitane began reopening select U.S. stores in late June and Glossier has yet to re-open its stores — there were signs of resilience for the channel in the latter half of the year. Bath & Body Works is the clear standout, far ahead of the group, as store sales in Q3 outperformed the year prior courtesy of exceptional results in the retailer’s hand sanitizers and hand soap category—high–demand items during the pandemic—coupled with growth of its popular home fragrance and body care products."
Elsewhere in the beauty world, the pandemic has had an aggressive, but at times irregular impact on retailers throughout 2020, with companies like Ulta experiencing a 7.8% decline in third-quarter net sales while E.l.f., by contrast, announced this month that its net sales rose 10% year over year in Q3, marking the group’s eighth consecutive quarter of revenue growth. Across the board, most retailers have seen online sales take prominence throughout the pandemic, as consumers opt to shop from home.
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