Amazon has been selling beauty products since the online titan debuted in 1994. But up until recently, most SKUs sold were from mass brands.

According to a report from Stella Rising, a leading US media, marketing and consulting firm for rising brands, Amazon now accounts for 32 per cent – close to one third – of all beauty products sold online in the US.

The e-commerce giant has been increasing its interest in the health and beauty category since it acquired Whole Foods, the US health food supermarket chain, in 2017 for US$13.4 billion. The huge buyout gave Amazon access to more mass beauty brands.

 Two years later, the company premiered Belei, an in-house skincare range based on ingredients many customers had searched for, including Vitamin C, peptides, hyaluronic acid and retinol. All of the SKUs were priced below US$40.

Last October, brand founders like Jessica Alba of The Honest Company took part in Amazon’s Beauty Haul Live promotion, alongside Neutrogena, Elemis, Revlon, L’Oréal Paris, Cetaphil and many more leading brands. The 11-hour event featured hundreds of livestreams from celebrities and influencers.

Amazon offers resources, including podcasts and webinars, to encourage influencers and beauty brands to use its Live feature. The potential is huge. Livestream shopping in China, for example, generated an estimated US$61 billion in 2019.

2020 also witnessed the launch of Luxury Stores, a new shopping experience for luxury fashion and beauty brands. Available through the Amazon app by invitation-only to eligible US Prime members at present, Amazon has blended content and commerce to allow prestige beauty brands to engage and entertain consumers.

Stella Rising also reveals that 77 per cent of beauty consumers surveyed said they shop on Amazon for beauty products, by contrast to 61 per cent and 56 per cent who use Ulta and Sephora e-commerce sites.

At the end of the calendar year 2020, Amazon’s beauty, health and personal care sales totaled US$23 billion.

In Australia, Amazon is on track to complete its first robotics fulfilment centre in the Southern Hemisphere over the next few months. Located in western Sydney and measuring 200,000 square metres, it will be the largest warehouse ever built in Australia.

The company’s fifth fulfilment centre nationwide, the new facility will double Amazon’s operational footprint in Australia.

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