Do you remember the last time that you made a purchase from the Clinique or Estēe Lauder counter at your local department store? According to a new report, those visits are becoming less frequent, in favor of on-line shopping patterns. In fact, department stores are one of the few categories of United States retail sales which have declined from a year ago. While most of this loss is attributed to the apparel market, cosmetics sales have also been greatly affected. “U.S. beauty and cosmetics sales are shifting away from department stores and mass merchants to online and specialty stores,” says Shelly Banjo for Bloomberg. On-line retailers, such as Amazon, DermStore, FragranceNet, and specialty stores, such as Sephora and ULTA, have all taken a larger market share, due to their robust on-line operations. The exception to the trend, however, has been the J.C. Pennney Co., who opened Sephora boutiques in more than half of its store locations.
According to the article, “the Selfie Generation has flocked to beauty brands that stoke sales with social media and technological innovations including plumping lipsticks, makeup-contouring kits, and nail polishes that go on like spray paint.” In fact, consumers turn to vloggers on YouTube and Snap Chat to follow the latest makeup trends, rather than seeing them at the department store counter or in the pages of a magazine.