A week is a long time in love, war and politics. The timeframe may be longer when the topic is e-commerce, but the speed of market growth in online sales of perfume and cosmetics in Australia has been stratospheric.

Ten years ago, online perfume and cosmetics sales in Australia reached $353.9 million, reports IBISWorld. By the time the Covid-19 pandemic arrived at the beginning of 2020 e-commerce sales in the category had ballooned to $1.529 billion.

A growth rate of 17.8 per cent year-on-year over the past five years has fast-tracked the sector to $2 billion this year, reveals the international market research data firm.

To put things in an even more upbeat perspective, the boom in online perfume and cosmetic sales has outpaced the general retail category, says IBISWorld.

The sector is heavily skewed towards female consumers and more than 2425 online businesses offer fragrance, personal care and beauty products.

The largest pure-play beauty retailer in Australia is Adore Beauty. But major players such as Chemist Warehouse, Priceline and the leading department stores have dynamically increased their online offerings to boost their credentials as omnichannel retailers in the category.

It’s the same story in the US, says IBISWorld. The US online perfume and cosmetics market is expanding rapidly at an annualised rate of 6.7 per cent to reach US$16 billion by the end of the year. A stat that is of major interest to Australian beauty brands looking to establish an online presence in the US, rather that opt for the more expensive on-shelf route in US bricks and mortar stores.

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