Amazon is getting into the private-label skin care business at a time when the segment is registering its biggest sales gains in mass and class beauty.
Skin care sales jumped 13 percent to $5.6 billion in prestige last year, according to the NPD Group. The story is the same in mass; IRI data shows skin up 4 percent, while other beauty sectors were flat.
Belei, Amazon’s 12-item private label line, is priced between $9 to $40, putting it between mass and class. The range hits many skin care trends, including serums, moisturizers, eye cream, spot treatments, masks, wipes and moisturizers. Keeping with consumer demand, the formulas do not contain parabens, phthalates, sulfates nor fragrance, and are not tested on animals. The bottles are made of post-consumer recycled resin and packaging is recyclable. All Belei products are eligible for free shipping, including unlimited free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime.
It’s a bold move that could accelerate Amazon’s progress on building out its beauty platform and national roster, according to Stephanie Wissink, equity analyst for Jefferies LLC., which she noted has had “relatively slow” progress to date. As it throttles up, Stephanie said Amazon could garner 10 percent of the core beauty market over time.
Amazon has shown willingness to develop its own products, especially in categories where nationals have been slow to come on board. With Belei, the positioning is to add value while removing some of the complexities of skin care.
“Our goal is to help customers spend less time and money searching for the right skin care solutions,” said Kara Trousdale, Head of Beauty for Private Brands on Amazon.com, in a release. “We took a simple, no-nonsense approach when creating Belei, developing products with ingredients that are both proven to deliver results and also offer customers great value for the quality.”
Social influencers are expected to build awareness for Belei, including Olivia Culpo, who posted a picture with her sister from a launch event.
Prestige brands, according to Stephanie, have been cautious to make the move to Amazon—often fearful of push back from premium retailers. Brands did applaud Amazon efforts in cleaning up what was once a roadblock, gray goods.
While the majors take their time, indie brands, such as Sunday Riley and Tula, have found Amazon a good fit to gain consumer exposure. Amazon offers upstart brands a chance to expand, especially as it becomes more competitive to secure shelf space Sephora and Ulta Beauty.
Stephanie noted that over the past 12 to 18 months, Amazon made moves suggesting it wants more of the $86 billion U.S. beauty market. In addition to Belei, the online giant dedicated a luxury site for aspirational brands, expanded its mass beauty assortment to more than 300 vendors, and launched Solimo, a private label personal care and household brand. There is also a beauty shop devoted to indies (brands that are at least 50 percent owned by an independent operator).
Earlier this month, Amazon’s brand accelerator program launched its first beauty brand called Fast Beauty Co. that consists of face masks and eye patches. The founders of Fast Beauty are two women, both of whom are beauty pageant title holders and models, who were looking for products that could deliver quick results. The 17-item line launched March 4 in its own store on Amazon.com. The accelerator program is designed to help foster exclusive lines.
Amazon house brands are now available in apparel, shoes, snack foods, diapers and mattresses accounting for a total of 138 private labels, according to TJI, a subscription service that tracks Amazon.