Despite the closure of beauty salons, perfumeries, and department stores, French women have not completely suspended their skincare routine during the quarantine period. Indeed, online sales took over and allowed some of them to transform their bathroom into a real at-home beauty salon.

According to the latest report from The NPD Group, online sales of prestige cosmetics [1] generated 21.6 million euros in April 2020, with a total of 491,000 units sold, representing an increase of 73% in value and 69% in units compared to the same period a year earlier.

Skin care is the category that most appealed to French women during the compulsory social distancing period. Face and body care products accounted for 37% of online purchases of prestige beauty products in April 2020 (while in April 2019 they accounted for 29% of online purchases and 18% of total purchases in the selective channel), while online sales more than doubled.

As far as face care products are concerned, online sales thus rose by 3.4 million euros compared to April 2019, a rise of 153%. In this category, the big winners are face care creams, serums, exfoliators and masks. The sunny weather during April 2020 in France also boosted online sales of sunscreen products, which increased 223% compared to April 2019.

Regarding body care products the rise was even more impressive with online sales skyrocketing by 225% in April, mainly driven by scrubs, oils and food supplements.

French consumers went online to buy prestige beauty items they needed...

French consumers went online to buy prestige beauty items they needed during confinement, sales were driven by the growing importance of skin care routines.(Photo : © AlenKadr / shutterstock.com)

During the very first weeks of the lockdown, online sales struggled to take over from physical stores. However, the interest of consumers for at home well-being products - which was pointed out by Pinterest, for instance - finally materialized in e-commerce during the second phase of confinement, in France as in most developed countries, as found by Contentsquare.

After the shock that followed the announcement of the lockdown and first quarantine measures, consumers have adapted their purchasing behaviour and online sales have accelerated week after week. The period that we have just passed did not fundamentally turn trends upside-down but had an accelerating effect on phenomena which began to emerge before the crisis such as the replacement of makeup routines by skincare ones,” said Mathilde Lion, beauty expert Europe at The NDP Group.