New • COVID-19 Report

Sephora's spring event gives the beauty industry a much needed boost

Thursday, April 30, 2020 • 1:00 PM EST

Key Takeaways:

1. Beauty product purchases increased by 82% last week. Much of this was driven by one brand, Sephora.
2. Sephora's highly anticipated "Spring Savings Event" continued to attract large numbers, in spite of the economic slowdown and decreased appetite for beauty products during the lockdown.
3. There was a notable decrease in the number of consumers who made a purchase during the event this year, down from 2.7% in 2019 to 1.7% in 2020 (based on our Millenial/Gen Z focused data panel).

Last week, we noticed a massive spike in beauty product purchases across the US, an 82% increase from the week prior. This took us by surprise, as the hard hit beauty category was generally considered to be at serious risk with lockdowns across the nation decreasing the need for such products. And while the market had seen a broad lift in spending for the week (up 18.2% excluding beauty), beauty was certainly an outlier.

Beauty Products

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Upon further investigation, we discovered that a significant portion of the increased spend was driven by Sephora and their famous "Spring Savings Event". The event, which runs from April 17th to May 1st, allows Sephora loyalists (Rouge, VIB, Insider) access to varying degrees of discounts on products that are almost always sold at full price. As a result, consumers often spend weeks anticipating and planning for the sale.

While other beauty brands saw sales grow by 32.7% WoW, it was Sephora's 158.5% increase that pushed the category well above the rest of the market.

Indexed Trend

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How did this year compare to the 2019 Spring Sales Event?

There was definitely a drop in the number of consumers in comparison to last year. In 2019, 2.7% of consumers in our panel made a purchase from Sephora during the spring event. This year, that number was 1.7%.

However, there was a notable increase in  average order value this year, up by 30.4% vs 2019. That's an interesting spike, given that prior to the event the increase in average order value was trending at around 3.6% for Sephora. There are numerous factors that may have contributed to this, namely, the fact that in-store purchases (which are usually smaller) were unavailable, increased interest in the savings offered due to economic uncertainty and the recency of stimulus payments to consumers across the US (don't worry, we'll have a full story on where those stimulus checks are going in the coming weeks).

Average Basket Breakdown

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The sale, which largely attracts Millenials and Gen Z, shifted further towards under-25s which made up over 20.5% of purchases in 2020, as opposed to 16.9% in 2019.

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Aside from that, however, there were no other notable deviations from previous Sephora sales.