Global e-commerce sales in health, personal care to hit $358.4bn

By Zion Rufus


E-commerce sales in health, beauty & personal care are expected to be worth $202.3bn worldwide this year before rising to $358.4bn in 2026. The immediacy and convenience of online shopping has led to massive growth in ecommerce as social distancing and stay-at-home orders further propelled its demand.

In 2021, e-commerce has become one of the major growth drivers for FMCG. As Walmart’s online health, beauty & personal care sales is set to rise by 13.6% between 2021 and 2026, Alibaba and Amazon will be the largest and second-largest online retailers, respectively, in the category this year and they will maintain their lead by 2026.

According to research from WARC, e-commerce will account for over a quarter (26.8%) of the category’s sales in 2026, up from an expected 19.5% this year. Amongst others, the major players operating in the global beauty and personal care market are Unilever, The Procter and Gamble Corporation, L’Oreal S.A., and The Estee Lauder Companies Inc.


“Items that were once bought in-store are not only becoming available online, but in an increasingly mobile-first age, brands have been rapidly experimenting with innovative digital technologies to engage customers remotely, such as using augmented reality to allow customers to try on lipstick virtually and getting involved with seasonal events,” Deren Baker, CEO at Edge by Ascential, WARC’s sister company explained.

In February, Unilever, one of the world’s largest FMCG Companies announced a $2.4 billion investment over the next two years to support high-growth business segments like beauty products, plant-based food and e-commerce.

The maker of beauty and personal care products including Dove, Axe, Rexona, Lifebuoy, Closeup, and Vaseline expanded its spending on marketing by $192.4 million in 2020 after conserving its budget during lockdowns in the first half of the year. The  company’s e-commerce business grew 61% for the full year to make up 9% of sales as consumers shopped from home as a result of the pandemic. E-commerce sales surged during 2020’s pandemic, and it’s likely that many consumers will continue to shop online because of convenience and product selection. The beauty and personal care category, its largest division, generated net sales of €5.36bn, up 0.9% on the previous year.

Personal and home care giant, Procter and Gamble reported a net sales rise of 7% for Q4 and FY2021. The company’s beauty, grooming and health care units all delivered double-digit net sales growth in the final quarter, up 11 percent, 10 percent and 18 percent respectively.

Increased sales of personal care products online during the pandemic also helped propel consumer-packaged goods (CPG) growth last year, ROI Revolution revealed. Digital ad spend for CPG is projected to grow 16.4% to $22.6 billion this year after seeing just 5.2% growth last year. Personal care retail ecommerce revenue surged 27.1% in 2020 in light of the pandemic and consumers’ increased interest in personal wellness. Health and personal care ecommerce sales skyrocketed 20.5% in 2020, blasting past pre-pandemic estimates.


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