Beauty and cosmetics market size: growth and industry trends

The beauty and cosmetics market is looking better than ever. Is it the new toxic-free products, the fact that more and more brands are becoming inclusive to people of color, or the creativity Gen Z is able to express using cosmetics? We’ll say it’s all that, and then some.

The beauty and cosmetics market size has been growing steadily since forever. But what drives that growth in the global market? How is it changing today, and what will it look like tomorrow?

In this article, we’ll look at what some of the biggest global cosmetics market trends are: how different generations are shopping for cosmetic products, the rising demand for healthier cosmetics products and how this affects the cosmetics market growth.

Portrait of young woman with bright make-up

We’re diving into the shift into online sales and how this affects the established names who for so long relied on brick-and-mortar shops.

And what about influencers creating their own brands and cosmetics products: is that a real threat to big cosmetic brands?

This article covers everything you need to know about the beauty market—its flaws, its highlights and its fluidity. 

Beauty industry statistics: Global and US

The global beauty market is currently valued at $511 billion. Revenue in the Beauty and Personal Care industry was $564.40 billion in 2022. The market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.76% between 2022 and 2026. By 2022, 25.4 percent of total revenue will be obtained through internet sales in the Beauty and Personal Care industry. Per person revenues in the US come down to $74.15 in 2022. The European market is US$138.40 billion big. (Source: Statista)

The numbers are impressive, and they have been over the years. The pandemic only temporarily slowed down sales, since we all showed our faces a little less, but also proved the flexibility of the market, adapting to new hygiene standards with online shopping, AI, and VR.

Key global cosmetics market insights

There’s a lot happening in the cosmetics industry. Let’s look at the most important growth factors, the rising consumer awareness surrounding sustainability and other growth opportunities.

Product insights

Before we dive into the trends, let’s make it clear what types of products we are talking about.

The Beauty and Personal Care market is defined as consumer goods for cosmetics and body care. Beauty cosmetics for the face, lips, skincare products, fragrances, and personal care items such as hair care, deodorants, and shaving goods are all included. Beauty treatments such as hairstylists are excluded.

Cosmetics

The cosmetic segment includes face, lip, eye, nail and natural cosmetics that are used for decorative purposes. Think make-up like lipstick and mascara, but also nail polish.

In 2022, worldwide revenue from cosmetics will be $100.50 billion. The market is anticipated to grow at a rate of 6.85% each year through 2022-2026 (CAGR 2022-2026). Most revenue is generated in the United States, where it amounts to US$18 billion in 2022. Non-luxury products will account for 72% of overall sales by that year.

Skincare

Skincare includes cosmetic products designed for the care and protection of the skin. Creams and lotions for both the face and body are included, from top to toe. Sunscreen is a big one in the skincare segment. In general, anything in this segment is used to take care of the skin, not to decorate it. Skin treatment products with a health focus do not fall into this category either, like creams for acne treatment.

Skincare revenue totals US$153.30 billion in 2022. The market is anticipated to grow every year by 5.19 percent (CAGR 2022-2026). In global terms, the United States dominates with most revenue (US$20,010.00m in 2022). Non-Luxury goods will account for 73% of Skincare sales by 2022.

Personal care

The Personal Care segment covers all products intended for personal cleansing such as shampoo, shower gels, bathing products, deodorants, oral care and shaving products. Skincare cosmetics such as lotions, facial cleansing products and body care services are not included.

The beauty market’s largest segment is Personal Care with a market volume of US$254 billion in 2022. In 2022, this segment is expected to generate revenue of US$254 billion. In 2026, the market will rise by 3.83 percent each year (CAGR 2022-2026). The United States accounts for the majority of worldwide revenue (US$41.57 billion in 2022).

Portrait of a young woman applying mascara at night

Beauty market driving factors

What’s driving these huge and consistent growth numbers? For one: products are becoming more accessible to shoppers across different segments. Here’s why that is.

The impact of influencers

”So many of you guys have been asking about my skincare routine…”

Ever bought a product that a beauty influencer recommended? Chances are you did, just like 65% of all consumers who went for a cosmetic product after an influencer got to them through social media.

Whoever thought that the business of being a beauty influencer wasn’t meant to last over a decade ago, was proven wrong.

From micro-influencers to big names, influencers have a huge impact on the industry. They’re closer to shoppers than most brands are, and a good or bad review can therefore make a huge difference.

But it’s not just reviews that influencers are bringing to the market. They collaborate with brands creating special lines as well. And when pairing with the right influencers, products often sell out within minutes. Influencers like NikkieTutorials and Manny MUA are personally responsible for helping brands to go out of stock in no time.

Some influencers take it even one step further and launch their own cosmetic lines, like Jeffree Star Cosmetics or the immensely popular KraveBeauty, which was founded by NYC-based vlogger, Liah Yoo. The spectacular sales of these brands show that they’re real competition for the established beauty brands.

Shot of a influencer recording a makeup tutorial for her blog at home

Online shopping drives market growth

Before 2020, sampling makeup was something a lot of people did without giving it a second thought. But after the pandemic, and especially during lockdowns, brands had to come up with ways to sell their product without touch—and often even from a distance. In come AR and AI, which help people choose the right products for them without having to share a sample with the rest of the store.

This was huge, not just to keep the brands afloat during the pandemic, but also for the big change it made in how beauty brands sell their products altogether: online is now a much bigger factor and is expected to keep growing.

Leverage the opportunities that digital can bring – whether that is in an app or on your desktop or on your journey home from work. It’s about helping you shop whenever you fancy and building an experience for the customer around that digital piece.

Rob Weston, Chief Marketing Officer at Beauty Pie

There’s an interesting division between those who shop online and those who shop in-store: consumers who go for quality are more likely to shop directly from a site (64%), while big-box stores attract those who shop based on price (28%). Online, people can do a lot more research and find much more specific products, which could explain why they invest more online.

Increased accessibility of organic cosmetics products

Sustainable products only make sense when they’re available to the masses, not just to the consumers in the higher budget bracket. A lot of brands are managing to create cleaner products at lower prices, which has convince some shoppers to go back to the beauty aisle, and it worked: compared to 2020, the ‘clean beauty’ segment saw a growth of 10% in 2021.

Indie brands contribute to growing global cosmetics market size

Who’s introducing all these clean products at fair prices, though? It turns out that indie brands are largely responsible for the growth of the organic cosmetics market.

But there are other reasons indie brands are so successful: they’re often a lot more ‘personal’ than buying from big brands and therefore solve more specific problems.

If you don’t meet the expectations of the final customers’ needs, then there are plenty of other options that consumers would turn to, especially in the world of cosmetics.

To win new business, you have to be on trend. You have to respond to what consumers need and are looking for. You must know them, through research.

Justine Catala, Consumer & Market Insights at Givaudan

Take CLN&DRTY Natural Skincare, which was founded by Paula Hoss, a new mom who couldn’t find the natural skincare solution for her cystic acne she was looking for, so she just created her own. Indie brands are proving to be resourceful and resilient. Often even so much so that they get acquired by bigger brands, but we’ll dive into that later.

Another brand that grew globally by zooming in to the personal experiences of consumers is Active Beauty. To win new business, you have to be on trend. You have to respond to what consumers need and are looking for. You must know them, through research.

D2C is proving its strength in the beauty industry

Beauty Pie is the first online-only D2C buyers’ club for luxury beauty and health products, where every day, thousands and thousands of people can shop direct from the world’s best labs. And because we do not add markup nor middlemen costs, we can afford to concentrate on the quality of our products, while allowing our members to shop up to 80% off typical retail prices.

Rob Weston, Chief Marketing Officer at Beauty Pie

One of the game changers in the beauty industry is the introduction of D2C brands. Beauty Pie is one of them and sells a beauty subscription business that gives everyday consumers access to luxury skincare and cosmetic products, directly from laboratories at a vastly discounted price.

Get up-to-the-minute updates on the latest trends in your market with our expert-written market analysis survey template.

Launch survey template

Market segmentation: what’s changing?

We’ve divided up the cosmetics market into three big segments, according to generation. Let’s look at how Gen Z, millennials and baby boomers are shopping for beauty products.

Gen Z

Gen Z is single-handedly creating big waves the beauty industry. Gen Z is all about expression and being self-conscious, and this also reflects in their beauty choices. They’re mindful in from who they buy and what they put on their bodies, so they take the time to investigate who they’re buying from, and are willing to invest in the products they approve of: turns out, Gen Zers are spending more money on skincare than any other generation to date.

If you’re creating a brand that loves to experiment and wants to throw new technologies into the mix, Gen Z is listening: they’re very open to trying new experiences like AI/AR to find their products and learn more about their skin health.

Metaverse : Young woman shopping virtual market with VR glasses in living room.

Millennials

Here’s what you should know about millennials and what’s in their beauty cabinet.

Millennials have the highest order frequency rate and annual spend online when it comes to beauty products.

Millennials love natural and organic ingredients. If it is okay for the environment, it’s okay for them. Their opinion on this is strongest, compared to. The other age groups.

Millennials are, well, getting older. That’s why they’re buying more and more anti-aging products, at an earlier age.

Baby boomers

What’s most interesting in the Baby Boomer group, apart from the fact that they love sustainability and are willing to pay a big price, is that a growing number of baby boomer men are embracing and consuming beauty products too. This could be an interesting opportunity for brands who are ready to venture out of the traditional markets.

If we’re looking at the beauty market as a whole, with all its beautiful generations and consumer groups together, there are a couple of interesting trends to spot.

Male grooming is booming

While the women segment is still biggest, research finds the market for male personal care products is growing at nearly 5%, and even outpacing the overall cosmetics and toiletries industry. This growth is driven by innovations in deodorants and antiperspirants, but other products are also catching up.

Young man's skincare routine

Rising awareness regarding health and hormones

Could your irregular period have something to do with your shampoo? Turns out, it can. The call for ‘cleaner’ products has been becoming increasingly loud, but consumers don’t just settle for organic or sustainable products anymore. It needs to be good for the planet, and for them.

There’s more and more research out there about hormone-disrupting ingredients in your everyday cosmetics and personal care products, and people are in need of products that are safe to use, yet still affordable and effective.

The cosmetics market is picking up on these signals, ditching ingredients that are labeled harmful and being more transparent about the effects some ingredients can have on our health. 

Beauty subscription services are going to stores

Are beauty subscription boxes still a thing? They had a promising start, and the idea is luxurious and fun—but the business model doesn’t seem to be as sustainable enough for the cosmetics market, where cosmetic products are often bought based on loyalty.

Turns out, customers love testing the sample-sized products, but when they go to buy the full size, they do that in their local store or whichever webshop has it cheapest, instead of buying from the brand that supplied them the sample. But even this part of the market has proven to be flexible: Birchbox, one of the biggest subscription services, temporarily even opened a flagship store.

Diversity—but for real this time

There are still some huge steps to be taken when it comes to diversity in the beauty industry, but there are more brands catching on, and some new brand are even built around being diverse to cater to all.

Take Fenty, who is creating ‘Beauty for All’, in 40 shades of foundation and other products. The next step for brands in the cosmetics market is to make these long wanted colors easily available to all consumers—meaning they should not just be available in a special section in their webshop, but in brick-and-mortar stores too.

Challenges and opportunities in the cosmetics and beauty industry

L’Oréal, Unilever, Procter & Gamble and Estée Lauder Companies inc are the multinational conglomerates that own most of the market. In 2019, they made up a whopping 81.7% of worldwide revenue for the beauty industry.

But challenger brands are on the rise, which is one of the major challenges for these key players to look out for. Their contributions to the cosmetic market growth are significant, and it’s changing the landscape of the global market.

Estee Lauder logo on a shelf of products of the brand. Estee Lauder is an american cosmetics and skincare brand on the luxury market.

Quick-to-market brands are taking over the cosmetics market

There are some new major market players in town, like Fenty and Glossies, who are quickly playing into market trends. These kinds of key companies are really changing the competitive landscape and force brands, big and small, to stay on top of market research to be able to meet customer demand.

Product launches happen faster than ever thanks to these brands, who are often getting their information on what consumers want from Instagram.

Will the big brands win back the cosmetics market?

The established old guard of brands who sell skincare products, big names like L’Oréal, Estée Lauder, and Chanel, are trying to protect their cosmetics market size share. One of the ways to do this is by acquiring these smaller brands.

Unilever for instance bought Tatcha for no less than 500 million dollars, and Shiseido’s acquired Drunk Elephant for $845M. Both parties benefit: the old guard delivers these brands access to their supply chain and technological advancements when it comes to producing and online purchasing, while benefiting from having access to a whole new target group.

These sums for which these brands are sold showcase perfectly how big these ‘small’ brands are in terms of their worth and contribution to the growth of the market: Global Cosmetic Magazine reported massive growth from 2019 to 2020 for these ‘newcomers’: Skinceuticals saw a growth of 22.27% and Goop, the brand marketed by Gwyneth Paltrow grew with an astonishing 28.85. 

Get the latest beauty and grooming trends

Want to know how people’s beauty routines are changing, what they’re looking for in products today, or how much they’re spending? We have all the answers in this deep-dive into the beauty and grooming sector, featuring data from 2,000 US consumers.

Read for free now

Sam Killip

VP Customer Success 

Sam joined Attest in 2019 and leads the Customer Research Team. Sam and her team support brands through their market research journey, helping them carry out effective research and uncover insights to unlock new areas for growth.

See all articles by Sam