Alibaba, Amazon, and Pinduoduo will account for 65% of all health & beauty online sales added globally between 2020 and 2025.

This according to a study by Edge by Ascential, which forecasts that the online share of sales made in the health & beauty sector will rise to 16.5% globally by the end of 2020, and increase to 23.3% by 2025. Analysts expect the health & beauty sector to see the second-fastest e-commerce growth rate after the Household and Petcare categories, largely driven by emerging participation from pure-play retailers. Amazon has been investing heavily in healthcare provision, while Alibaba and continue to add more third party health & beauty brands to their marketplaces.

Edge by Ascential forecasts that China’s Alibaba is expected to achieve the greatest share of health & beauty online sales this year, with sales of $43.2bn. This is closely followed by Amazon, with sales growing to $28.8bn, and Pinduoduo, which will increase its sales to $16.8bn by the end of 2020.


Edge by Ascential’s Market Share service, which helps businesses drive growth on Amazon, shows that the health & beauty category on the online giant has been experiencing rapid growth over the past year, accelerated recently by the pandemic. In May 2020, sales of beauty and personal care products and health and household items listed on saw a 141% and 115% year-on-year increase respectively.

Meanwhile, Edge by Ascential is predicting that health & beauty sales in the UK will see the biggest uplift following COVID-19 in 2020, with sales growth accelerating by 5%. This will exceed the average uplift of 1.8% across all markets worldwide. The UK is closely followed by China in terms of sales growth uplift (+3.6%).

Walgreens Boots Alliance will continue to dominate as the leading health & beauty retailer in 2020, with total store-based and e-commerce sales rising to $130.5bn by the end of 2020, from $124bn in 2019. Analysts highlighted that this will be supported by its strategy towards digital transformation and online fulfilment to reflect the acceleration of e-commerce following the crisis.

Meanwhile, health products are expected to continue to see increased demand with health-conscious consumers, but cosmetics will experience more subdued growth in 2020, following the realities of home working, social distancing, and mask-wearing, particularly in the first half. However, skincare, haircare, and bath and body products will benefit from self-care and pampering trends throughout this year.

Florence Wright, Senior Retail Analyst at Edge by Ascential, commented: “With COVID-19 driving increased demand for health & beauty products, many retailers are planning further inroads into the category via enhanced online services and product lines. However, as department stores experience a 10.9% fall in growth in 2020, more beauty brands will be forced to diversify and focus on investing in online to expand reach and boost growth.

“The rapidly developing digital outlook, coupled with the growing dominance of online players like Amazon and Alibaba, highlights how crucial it is to enhance omnichannel offerings and online capabilities. This includes strong search optimisation, as well as powerful online visual merchandising as a means to recreate the in-store experience and to better engage with shoppers.”