To Top

The Battle of Cosmetics: How Sephora and Ultra Compete to Sway the Customers In The Makeup Industry

When we talk about makeup products, most people think of only two brands: Sephora or Ultra Beauty. These two cosmetics retail giants dominated the makeup industry, despite their different marketing strategy and business models.

And yet as the consumer’s demand for makeup continues to increase, their strategies begin to converge and get entangled with each other as they try capturing the global audience of the cosmetics market.

The Tight Competition

According to the study, the global sales of color cosmetics are suspected to surge to an astounding $48.3 billion in 2018.

Sephora’s main target market was to introduce luxurious cosmetics in the urban areas, while its competitor, Ulta, specialized in producing mass-market cosmetics products in suburban areas. But as they try capturing a bigger share of the makeup industry, both companies may be forced to reassess their marketing strategies to adapt to the customer’s growing demand.

The Study

According to a new research conducted by Mintel, the sales growth of the makeup industry is expected to increase up to 6% compared to the $45.5 billion sales recorded in 2017. The company also identified the top five key areas wherein the cosmetics markets are expected to grow this year namely:

  1. The United States (with projected $12.1 billion sales).
  2. Japan (with $6.4 billion sales).
  3. China ($5.1 billion sales).
  4. United Kingdom (with $2.7 billion sales).
  5. And South Korea (with $2.2 billion sales).

The newest research also identified the macro-trends most cosmetics retail companies should focus or improve to attract most customers in the makeup industry and increase their sales.

Social Media Marketing and Influence

According to the researchers, tapping social media influencers to try and promote your cosmetics products remains one of the most successful methods to increase sales. Their study shows most people prefer to buy the products their favorite influencers endorsed not just because of the product’s quality, but they also buy the personality.

They believe in their influencers judgment, and they also uncover the company’s culture to see the people who’re behind making these incredible products. Most customers nowadays don’t just want to connect with a faceless company. They want real people to interact with.

According to the researchers, companies should incorporate the power of social media in their marketing strategy to connect with their customers and give them behind the scenes access to their culture.

The researchers also found how these “selfie-friendly” zones are growing in popularity and more and more customers are engaging the brands thanks to the power of social media. In fact, they’ve obtained the following Statistics that shows the influence of social media to boost your cosmetics sales:

  1. Around 41% of Chinese cosmetic users are greatly influenced by their favorite celebrity bloggers and vloggers to buy products.
  2. 66% of UK women aging from 16-24 claim they learn new beauty techniques thanks to the internet.
  3. and 31% of German cosmetics users wear make-up based on the new fashion trends.


Most customers nowadays don’t just buy beauty products for the sake of making themselves beautiful. They tend to buy easy beauty products to use with minimal makeup steps, are good and healthy for their skin (or multipurpose products), and most of all, eco-friendly.

According to the researchers, their study shows customers tend to inspect the quality of ingredients used in concocting cosmetic products and how it impacts the environment.

They want to minimize the usage of plastics and instead, they patronize alternative materials like coconut husk, bamboo, and rice bran recently.


Most customers nowadays don’t want to invest and support a company who’s only after the profit. They want to make sure that the products they buy and the company they support, align with their personal views.

That’s why researchers encourage cosmetic retail giants to embark on an action-led initiative, social and philanthropic cause, or charity. This develops trust and bonds with your customers and shows them you also care about helping humanity. This shows you can also help support the world through your brands.

More in Business

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply