Beauty statistics

How much do Brits fork out to look good and what's the leading beauty brand?

Beauty treatments are not just skin deep. A change in your appearance can allow you to better express yourself and it can boost your sense of self-worth. This power has been harnessed by companies and individuals alike, fueling the UK’s £27 billion beauty industry as we know it today.

Quick facts

  • L’Oreal is the leading beauty manufacturer in the world with an annual revenue of $33.93 billion in 2020.
  • Toiletries made up 30% of 2020 cosmetic sales in Great Britain.
  • 33% of Brits say they spend between £1 and £15 a month on beauty treatments and products.
  • The Great Britain toiletries and cosmetic industry sales stood at £8.7 billion in 2020, this is £580 million less than 2019.
  • The UK organic beauty industry has recorded 10 years of sales growth, with sales in 2020 standing at £120 million.
  • Asia and Oceania held a combined 39% of the total cosmetic market back in 2018.
  • Kylie Cosmetics is the most followed cosmetic brand on Instagram with over 25.5 million followers.
  • The greatest worldwide growth in a beauty market has been seen in China, where the beauty industry grew by £16 billion from 2014 to 2019 – over double the next largest growth, which was in Brazil.
  • The amount spent at hairdressers and personal care salons in the UK was highest in 2019, reaching £8.6 billion, equivalent to every person in the UK spending £166 on personal care treatments yearly.

The cosmetics market

The cosmetics market in the UK is enormous. In 2020, the cosmetics market was named the third-largest market operating in the UK. Globally, the UK has the seventh-largest cosmetics market, with the US and China taking the top 2 spots.

Leading beauty brands

In 2020, the leading beauty manufacturer was French cosmetics company L’Oréal, which recorded $33.93 billion in revenue. The global giant is not only making money off hair colours, it also owns 39 brands, including well-known names such as Yves Saint Laurent Beauté, Ralph Lauren, Prada and Giorgio Armani.

Unilever is the second-largest beauty manufacturer with $25.38 billion in revenue in 2020. Not only is it likely you’ll find Unilever products in your beauty bag, but you probably even have an item signed by Unilever in every room of your home. Unilever owns over 400 brands including Dove, Vaseline, TRESemmé and Toni & Guy. At $19.41 billion, Procter & Gamble overtook Estée Lauder ($14.29 billion) as the third-largest cosmetic manufacturer in 2020. The remaining companies in the top 10 amounted to over $35 billion in total revenue.

Leading beauty brands Beauty sales in 2020 ($)
L'Oréal 33.93 billion
Unilever 25.38 billion
Procter & Gamble Co. 19.41 billion
The Estee Lauder Cos. 14.29 billion
Shiseido Co. 8.73 billion
LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton 6.36 billion
Beiersdorf 5.9 billion
Kao Corp. 5.17 billion
Coty 4.71 billion
Johnson & Johnson 4.45 billion

Market by region

Asia and Oceania combined made up 39% of the cosmetics market in 2018. North America and Europe each made up a quarter of the market. In 2018, the European cosmetics market was valued at €77.6 billion.

Continent Market share
Asia and Oceania 39%
North America 25%
Europe 24%
South America 9%
Africa 3%

Market by product category

Toiletries sales make up 29.5% of the cosmetics market in Great Britain, which is an increase of over 4% to 2018. Skincare products are second with 25.4% of the cosmetic market sales, being an increase of over 3% to sales in 2018. Fragrances (18.3%), haircare (14.8%) and colour cosmetics (12%) complete the market. The British cosmetics market recorded a total of 100 million units sold in 2020, with the total market sales over £8.7 billion. However, this is a drop of £580 million from 2019, with economic difficulties and working from home cited as reasons for this decline.

Product category Percentage
Toiletries 29.50%
Skincare 25.40%
Fragrances 18.30%
Haircare 14.30%
Colour cosmetics 12%

Organic beauty statistics

Going vegan, cruelty-free and sustainable is a trend that has been growing for years and it is not stopping. In actual fact, 45% of British consumers report using at least 1 organic product during the last 6 months. 64% of consumers also report prioritising buying products with recyclable packaging.

Many consumers want to make sure that companies they support are also supporting the environment and the animals in it. In the UK alone, over 14,000 ingredients are certified organic and over 15,000 beauty products are all-natural.

The organic industry has had 10 years of consecutive revenue growth. Between 2019 and 2020, there was a revenue increase of £13.8 million, which equates to a growth of 13%. Similarly, between 2018 and 2019, the sector experienced a revenue growth of 23%.

Year Sales value of certified organic health and beauty products in the UK
2010 £27.7 million
2011 £30.1 million
2012 £31.8 million
2013 £37.2 million
2014 £44.6 million
2015 £54.2 million
2016 £61.2 million
2017 £75.9 million
2018 £86.5 million
2019 £106.4 million
2020 £120.2 million

The online market

Most commercials today are getting through to us via the Internet and social media, specifically with the help of influencers. For example, Kylie Jenner, who started off as one of the lesser-known sisters of Kim Kardashian, made a career out of influencing and is now the billionaire owner of Kylie Cosmetics, ranking as number 27 on Forbes’s list of the richest self-made women. Social media has been instrumental in building many beauty brands, with social influencers being part of strategies to increase exposure.

Most popular beauty brands on Instagram

Instagram is key to influencer marketing, where Kylie Cosmetics has over 25.5 million followers, which is helped by being owned by the most followed woman on the social media site, Kylie Jenner. Anastasia Beverley Hills (19.5 million) follows in second with Fenty Beauty (10.9 million) owned by global artist Rihanna is in third place.

Leading Cosmetic brands Instagram followers
Kylie Cosmetics 25.5 million
Anastasia Beverly Hills 19.5 million
Fenty Beauty 10.9 million
Benefit Cosmetics US 9.9 million
NARS Cosmetics 8.3 million
Ulta Beauty 6.7 million
Bath Body Works 6.5 million
KKW Beauty 4.7 million
Pat McGrath 3.9 million
beccacosmetics 3.6 million

Most popular beauty brands on Facebook

With over 10.37 million likes, Bath & Body is the most-liked cosmetics page on Facebook. Risqué (7.03 million) and Mary Kay Brasil (6.08 million) make up the top 3 of most-liked cosmetics pages on Facebook. Interestingly, Kylie Cosmetics has over 20 million fewer likes on Facebook than followers on Instagram, possibly showing the age demographic of the respected brand.

Leading cosmetic brands Facebook likes
Bath & Body Works 10.37 million
Risqué 7.03 million
Mary Kay Brasil 6.08 million
Eudora 5.57 million
Nature Republic Myanmar 4.92 million
Pantene Brasil 4.79 million
Doce Película 4.76 million
COVERGIRL 4.49 million
Dailus 4.07 million
Kylie Cosmetics 4.04 million

Most popular beauty and lifestyle influencer on YouTube

With over 24.9 million subscribers, Mexican beauty vlogger Yuya is the most popular creator in the beauty and style channel. Since starting her page in 2009, she has amassed over 2.5 billion views, which means an average of over 227 million views each year. Chloe Ting follows in second place with over 22 million subscribers with Musas third with just over 15.2 million subs.

Youtube beauty creators Subscribers as of Sept 2021
Yuya 24.9 million
Chloe Ting 22 million
Musas 15.2 million
Nikkie Tutorials 13.8 million
Rosanna Pansino 13 million
MyLifeAsEva 11.4 million
Zoella 10.9 million
SaraBeautyCorner 10.5 million
Shruti Arjun Anand 9.59 million
Niki and Gabi 9.54 million

How much do we spend on beauty treatments?

In the UK, 38% of Brits claim that they don’t spend at all on beauty treatments and products. 33% said that they spend £1–£15 per month, which would be £12–£180 per year. Meanwhile, 3% of all Brits spend £51–£100 per month on their looks and a rare 1% spend over £100.

Monthly amount spent on beauty products Percentage of UK consumers
£0 38%
£1-£15 33%
£16-£30 16%
£31-£50 8%
£51-£100 3%
More than £100 1%


British Beauty Council
Soil Association
Instagram, Facebook and YouTube

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806

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