In July, beauty and personal-care brands clamored for a piece of the Amazon Prime Day pie.
Mega companies like Maybelline partnered with BuzzFeed to create “Summer Fundles,” which bundled cosmetic products and lifestyle items, such as towels and sunglasses, while indie beauty companies like Undone Beauty created shop-in-shops prior to the global shopping event. But the hair-care and skin-care sectors drove the most significant growth in the category, according to data and sales analytics firm One Click Retail.
Director of insights Pete Andrews said the aforementioned categories were up 240 percent and 40 percent year over year, respectively. Conditioner, shampoo and styling aids drove the hair-care market, and facial treatments and moisturizers drove skin care.
This is in line with industry trends. Both categories have seen tremendous growth in the last year: According to NPD Group, the hair-care market is the fastest-growing category in the prestige beauty space, worth $645 million and up 19 percent from last year. Skin care is gaining momentum, too — prestige treatment products were up 14 percent since July 2017.
Amazon reported that more than 100 million products were purchased on Prime Day, 5 million of which were beauty products.
On a brand level, the ones who won big pulled a multifaceted marketing approach to product, said Andrews. Salon line HSI Professional promoted its Argan Oil Heat Protector prior to the shopping event to create buzz.
“It pulsed deals prior to Prime Day to help increase exposure on their page and improve search ranking,” he said. “This was done through a series of seven ‘lightning deals’ leading up to Prime Day. HSI also utilizes a hybrid strategy where they have the capability to better control price and inventory during these high-traffic time periods.” On Amazon, lightning deals are short-term promotions offered in a limited quantity.
Deal pulsing was also key for indie beauty brand LilyAna Naturals, which is exclusively sold on Amazon. Over the course of the past year — it has been on Amazon.com for two — LilyAna ran lightning deals and coupons to drive traffic to its best products. According to Andrews, these pre-Prime Day promotions drove steady sales and new reviews. “They gamed the system using ‘deal pulsing’ with their lightning deal strategy. Plus, they’re a third-party seller, so they can better control price and inventory,” he said.
Prior to Prime Day, Amazon sales rankings for LilyAna would swing from the high 80s to the top 10 after each lightning deal, a pattern that continued until the brand secured a lightning deal placement for Prime Day, according to Andrews.
Managing inventory was also key, as evidenced by Viva Naturals’ Organic Coconut Oil – the company had one of the top-selling items in the conditioner and treatment category, which was up over 250 percent. “They had a lightning deal on Prime Day with a price of $9.17 from $10.29,” said Andrews. “They were able to maintain stock levels and reduce price post Prime Day, which helped it maintain strong search ranking.”
Cosmetics, too, saw growth, with the eye makeup category up 150 percent and the face market seeing increases of more than 350 percent. Makeup giant L’Oréal saw tremendous gains, as much as the entire face category, driven by lightning deals on key items within the Maybelline and Garnier brands. Maybelline specifically saw success, with total Prime Day sales up 300 percent year over year, said Andrews. Its “Summer Fundles” push helped — the brand heavily promoted the product packages on Instagram, with in-feed posts garnering 20,300 likes.
Still, the only L’Oréal product to make it to the top 10 in the eye category was the L’Oréal Paris Makeup Voluminous Original Volume Building Mascara in Carbon Black. Largely a replenishment item versus a trend product, the signature mascara saw an increase of almost 800 percent year over year.