Beauty statistics

How much do Brits fork out to look good and what's the leading beauty brand of 2020?

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

  • 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.
  • Brits like to keep well-groomed, and the amount spent at hairdressers and personal care salons in the UK was highest in 2019, reaching £8.6 billion.
  • This is 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 a 2020 report, it 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 two spots.

Leading beauty brands

In 2019, the leading beauty manufacturer was French cosmetics company L’Oréal, which made £25.4 billion in revenue. The global giant isn’t only making money off of hair colours; it also owns 39 more brands, including well-known names such as Lancôme, Maybelline, Urban Decay, Garnier, Essie and The Body Shop.

Producing beauty products and personal care items, Unilever is the second-largest beauty manufacturer, with £17.1 billion in revenue in 2019. Not only is it likely that 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. It’s the owner of over 400 brands, including Dove, Ben and Jerrys and Persil, just to name a few.

At £12.1 billion in revenue in 2019, prestige cosmetics company Estée Lauder is the third-largest cosmetics manufacturer. The remaining companies’ revenues amounted to no less than £46 billion in total in 2019.

Brand Revenue in 2019
L'Oréal £25.4 billion
Unilever £17.1 billion
Estée Lauder Companies £12.1 billion
Procter & Gamble £10.6 billion
Shiseido £7.7 billion
Coty £6.6 billion
LVMH £5.9 billion
Beiersdorf £5.1 billion
Chanel Ltd £5.1 billion
L Brands £5 billion

Market by country

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

Around one-fifth of the cosmetics market is comprised of skincare products. With £920 million made from sales in 2018, non-medicated face care products (like moisturisers and exfoliators) were the best selling skincare cosmetics. Haircare and colour cosmetics make up 18% and 16% of the market, respectively.

Product Share of market
Toiletries 25.10%
Skincare 22.30%
Fragrances 19.00%
Haircare 17.90%
Colour cosmetics 15.60%

Organic beauty statistics

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

Consumers are conscious and want to make sure that 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 nine years of consecutive growth and it shows no signs of slowing down. Between 2018 and 2019, the organic beauty industry’s revenue grew by 23%, the third-largest increase since 2010. The industry was making revenue worth £86.5 million in 2018, and it grew to no less than £106.4 million in 2019.

Year Sales value of certified organic health and beauty products in the UK
2019 £106.4 million
2018 £86.5 million
2017 £75.9 million
2016 £61.2 million
2015 £54.2 million
2014 £44.6 million
2013 £37.2 million
2012 £31.8 million
2011 £30.1 million
2010 £27.7 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 and has ranked as number 27 on Forbes’s list of the richest self-made women.

The biggest beauty companies on social media

Looking at the number of followers on each platform, Instagram is obviously the one with the most customer engagement and number of followers. With Kylie Cosmetics in the lead with 24.5 million Instagram followers, Soap & Glory leads the charge on Facebook, with an impressive 1.2 million followers.


Brand Followers on Instagram as of 14 August 2020 Instagram handle
Kylie Cosmetics 24.5 million kyliecosmetics
MAC Cosmetics 23.4 million maccosmetics
Anastasia Beverly Hills 20.2 million anastasiabeverlyhills
Sephora 20.1 million sephora
NYX Professional Makeup 14.6 million nyxcosmetics
Too Faced Cosmetics 13.2 million toofaced
Urban Decay Cosmetics 11.2 million urbandecaycosmetics
Morphe 10.8 million morphebrushes
Maybelline New York 10.4 million maybelline
Benefit Cosmetics 10.1 million benefitcosmetics/benefitcosmeticsUK


Brand Followers on Facebook as of 14 August 2020
Soap & Glory 1,192,704
Lynx 1,088,549
Slimfast 639,863
My Makeup Brush Set 584,499
Estée Lauder 572,427
BareMinerals UK & Ireland 460,437
LUSH 427,839
No7 412,330
Gillette 349,704
Make Up Academy (MUA) 265,190


As of July 2020, the number of YouTube users was over 2 billion monthly – a quarter of the world’s population and a third of all Internet users. In 2018, the number of beauty-related content views reached 169 million, which is equivalent to the UK’s entire population watching a beauty video two and a half times each.

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%


Office for National Statistics
Cosmetics Business

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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