Understanding the online vs. offline divide of buying health and beauty products in the UK
June 12th, 2024, Bhavika Bansal

Understanding the online vs. offline divide of buying health and beauty products in the UK

In today's digital age, a booming online market offers a vast selection of health and beauty products at our fingertips. But for many, the allure of in-store shopping remains strong. So, where do Britons go for personal care items and what are the factors that influence their preferences?

Here are a few key takeaways using data from YouGov Profiles

  • More than two out of five British consumers (43%) say they tend to purchase health and beauty products “all” or “mostly” offline
  • Nearly a quarter of Brits are likely to maintain an even split between online and offline shopping (22%) in this category
  • Less than a fifth (19%) are likely to opt just for online shopping.

A look at the data by age demographics reveals further nuances.

Our oldest cohort is most likely to choose in-store shopping when it comes to health and beauty products with nearly half (48%) saying they buy such products “all” or “mostly” offline”.

On the other hand, compared to just 16% of Britons aged 55 and above who say they are equally likely to buy health and beauty products online and offline, a quarter of consumers between the ages of 18-24 (23%), 25-39 (26%) and 40-54 (25%) say the same. 25-to-39-year-old Brits are the likeliest of all age groups to buy such products mostly online.

Reasons why Brits opt for online shopping 

A deeper look into Britons who buy health and beauty products “all” or “mostly” online sheds light on the reasons that are likely to influence this choice.

More than half of this group of respondents say their choice to buy online is motivated by access to a larger selection of products (58%), convenience of ordering online (56%) and because it is faster to order online (55%).

Nearly a third of consumers say they prefer shopping online because it is cheaper (30%) and the availability of exclusive sales and special offers (29%).  Less than a quarter of consumers pick online shopping because physical stores are too far away (23%).

Reasons why Brits opt to shop in-store

We also looked into some of the key reasons why Britons who buy health and beauty products “all” or “mostly” offline are most likely to do so.

More than three-fifths of consumers in this group are likely to shop offline because they enjoy the sensory benefits provided by the in-store shopping experience (65%) followed by 53% who like to try the products before buying them and 40% who like the satisfaction of having their products immediately after buying them. 

Better sales selections (14%) and talking to in-store staff for expert opinions and advice (13%) round out the list of reasons why these respondents are motivated to purchase products in-store.

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Methodology: YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data for the UK is nationally representative and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles.