Beauty Brands Exporting into the UK Market - Bespoke Advantage

Exporting into the UK Beauty Market

The beauty and wellness industry is a growing marketplace, with boundaries blurring between health, beauty, and wellbeing. There has never been a more apt time than ‘Beauty starts from within’. Over the past few years, we have seen the emergence of new growth categories including ‘at home spa and salon’, along with an interest in an ever-evolving wellness sector from supplements that address our sleep, to stress and anxiety, our hormones and beauty technology.

The UK’s beauty business is thriving. Research via Statista suggests the UK consumes the third-largest amount of cosmetics in Europe, with skincare being the largest category – in particular facial skincare – worth nearly £1.8 billion. The UK organic cosmetics market size is expected to grow to £339 million by 2025. With this phenomenal growth, there is no doubt that international brands would like to dip their toes into the British beauty and wellness market.

We are really excited to be collaborating with the Trade and Investment Queensland (TIQ) to help brands from Queensland, Australia export into the UK market. We delivered a webinar for the TIQ in August where the trade ministers and several beauty and wellness brands joined us to discuss the opportunity to launch their brands into the UK. We are now working very closely with 5 of these brands, to create their go-to-market strategy for the UK, and to support them in entering the UK beauty and wellness market.

There are a few elements to consider when exporting into the UK marketplace:

  • Added value – what makes your product or service add value? What is your USP and what exactly makes your brand different from others – defining this at the beginning will help you to achieve success. It is important to keep in mind that the competitors for your brand in the UK market, may be different to those in your home market.
  • How can you make your products easy to purchase? Convenience, time and cost are important considerations. Who are the key retailers and how are you going to reach them? Can your website be easily adapted to service customers from the UK? And will your business require a UK fulfilment centre?
  • What do your customers want and need? The best beauty businesses focus on delivering a particular product to a specific group of customers. Addressing the needs of a well-defined audience provides clarity to what you’re offering your customers. When it comes to customer service, how are you going to be servicing your customers? Today’s consumers are extremely demanding with regards to delivery costs, times, after care service – customer experience is a priority.
  • Commit to a particular route to market – it takes time –a minimum of 6 months is required, most companies commit to up to 18 months to reap the true benefits.
  • Consider margin implications and volume orders. Retailer margins are an important consideration – just because a retailer isn’t charging you a high margin, it doesn’t mean that they are the best retailer for you. Better margins don’t equate to greater sales if you are selling low volumes.
  • Legal – Consider the legal implications of entering a new market – are you setting up an office in the UK, how are you managing your banking, VAT, Tax, trademarks?
  • Regulatory & Compliance – Global cosmetic labelling is quite similar around the world except for mandatory information for specific countries. In the UK, the manufacture and supply of all cosmetic products is governed by the UK cosmetics Regulation. Do your products comply with regulations in the UK? Do you need to change your artwork? How are you going to manage the Responsible Person?

There are plenty of routes to market when thinking about selling into the UK – you can go down the traditional route of bricks and mortar, via your online website or participate in tradeshows and events which help to build brand awareness. Retailers have increased their online offering significantly since the pandemic, focusing on introducing new categories such as wellness.

Selling to distributors and agents is another way that your products can make their way into new shoppers’ hands. An agent works on your behalf in return for a retainer and commission; a distributor buys the stock from you at an agreed price, and then sells this stock directly to retailers.  A country manager is a hybrid between the two – working on a retainer and a commission, and working very closely with you as an extension of your team. A country manager can often manage your marketing, PR, warehousing, and distribution and has great relationships with the retailers in your sector.

This may sound a little bit daunting to start with, we can help you.  Get in touch to discuss how we can support you with your go-to-market strategy for the UK.