Daily Insights

Top 10 Beauty Brands in the U.K.

By: Elisabeth Rosen | Apr 25, 2016

The U.K. Beauty market is becoming increasingly competitive in digital. More brands place in the Average and Gifted categories this year, bolstered by an influx of digitally savvy newcomers: 70% of the 23 brands new to the Digital IQ Index: Beauty U.K. rank Average or Gifted.

Top 10 U.K. Beauty brands

1. Benefit Cosmetics
Digital IQ: 145 

Benefit is the only Index brand to keep its Genius status year after year, rising from second place to first. The brand also joins the Genius category in the U.S., demonstrating its ability to scale across global markets. That ability is reflected in Benefit’s sophisticated site, where product pages lead to a rich ecosystem of connected content including videos and UGC. The site also offers solid DTC e-commerce; however, the brand also goes the extra mile to invest in rich branded merchandising on local e-tailers. Last but not least, Benefit displays the strongest social media performance across platforms among all Beauty E.U. brands.

2. MAC
Digital IQ: 142

MAC’s strengths lie in mobile. The brand’s app offers a visual selection finder and filter to help users narrow in on the perfect shade and finish, and its mobile site offers live chat and e-commerce capabilities as well as collapsible FAQs. MAC is also a clear leader in SEO, appearing in 63% of organic searches for Colour Cosmetics terms.

3. Rimmel London
Digital IQ: 140

Rimmel’s best-in-class e-tailer investments across the big three U.K. e-tailers propel the brand to the top of L2’s ranking. Rimmel maintains strong merchandising and search visibility on Amazon and Boots, as well as a branded storefront on FeelUnique.com. The brand also thrives on social platforms, launching unique campaigns such as a competition for vloggers to become Rimmel brand ambassadors.


4. Bobbi Brown
Digital IQ: 139

Bobbi Brown boasts one of the strongest mobile sites in the Index. The brand’s mobile-optimized tutorials and videos are broken into short segments, making them easy to watch on the go, and shoppers can get personalized, relevant content by selecting models of different skin tones. But it’s the surrounding content that really sets these tutorials apart: step-by-step instructions are located below the video, and relevant products that can be directly added to the viewer’s cart accompany each step.

5. L’Oréal Paris
Digital IQ: 136

High scores on the big three e-tailers demonstrate the brand’s focus on e-commerce. Furthermore, an aggressive paid social strategy ensures visibility for L’Oréal Paris across platforms.

5. The Body Shop
Digital IQ: 136

Failure to distribute on local e-tailers and a significant grey market problem on Amazon pushed The Body Shop down in the Index from Genius to Gifted. However, best-in-class SEO kept the brand near the top of the ranking.

7. Maybelline New York
Digital IQ: 134

Official distribution on Amazon and investments on Boots and FeelUnique ensure high performance and visibility across e-tailers. Maybelline benefits from being part of L’Oréal’s Consumer Products Division, which brings with it strong content integration and a focused distribution strategy – qualities that helped the brand rise from Average to Gifted.

Search visibility on Boots.com

8. Clarins
Digital IQ: 133

Navigating the Clarins site rarely poses challenges thanks to a suite of features including advanced filters for gallery pages and product reviews, as well as strong user accounts. The brand’s loyalty program is also well coordinated, sending emails to notify members when products are back in stock and offering reward points with purchase.

8. Estée Lauder
Digital IQ: 133

On Facebook, Estée Lauder emphasizes product-focused posts, maintaining a strong link between content and commerce. Organic search results link to a store locator, further ensuring that those interested in products will move through to purchase.

10. Clinique
Digital IQ: 132

The brand site features an extensive array of content, including advanced diagnostic tools and strong product page features. Clinique is also one of the top 10 brands in terms of search visibility on Boots.com, where almost two-thirds of Index brands – in both the mass and prestige categories – distribute their products.