November 6, 2020
While the coronavirus has created some disruption, the cosmetics industry remains a $49.2 billion behemoth that until recently has experienced sustained growth with sales increasing around 5% year after year. Though quarantine has resulted in shuttered retail outlets and a diminished need for consumers to look professionally picture-perfect, outlets and brands throughout the industry are responding to these challenges. With that, let’s take a look at how some of the major players are faring in the world of COVID-19.
Revlon Inc. (Tii:REV)
This is a beauty brand well used to difficult times. Revlon was established in the midst of the Great Depression with a single product, an innovative type of nail polish. The founders theorized that in hard times, people were more likely to buy themselves small luxuries. This gambit paid off. Over the decades, Revlon would become a leading industry player that was worth $570.2 million a year by 2019. However, like many companies whose success is linked to the face we show the outside world, Revlon has suffered in the pandemic. Net sales for 2020 show a 39% contraction in sales, with figures down to $347.6 million. While holding company MacAndrews & Forbes controls most Revlon shares, individuals can still get a piece of the pie.
Macy's Inc. (Tii:M)
Many individuals' first exposure to anything beyond drugstore beauty brands came at Macy's makeup counters. However, the company has struggled in recent years, with negative year over year quarterly sales more often than not between 2007-2020. The retailer, however, has plans to reverse the trend. It has converted many former retail locations to online fulfillment centers. This is part of the company's plan to save $2.1 billion by the end of 2022, as well as an adjustment to accommodate higher levels of digital sales.
Etsy Inc. (Tii:ETSY)
Over the past decade or so, many makeup fanatics have looked beyond the big brands to explore what indie makeup artists and creators had to offer. Many of these creators market their wares through Etsy, an online marketplace for all kinds of artisan crafts. This move toward artisan, independent cosmetics has helped the online retail outlet. According to Etsy's third-quarter 2020 financial results, the company saw revenue increase by 128% between 2019 and 2020.
Rite Aid Corporation (Tii:RAD)
Around 19% of cosmetic purchases are made at drug stores. With just under 2,500 outlets nationwide, Rite Aid is in a good position to capture a significant part of those sales. Rite Aid was among the many retailers whose doors were not closed by quarantine requirements, as they offered essential services in addition to luxuries like cosmetics. Sales in front-end products increased by 6.1% between 2019 and 2020. However, this growth still did not prevent a dip in total revenue. The company posted a $13.2 million loss for the quarter that ended August 29.
e.l.f. Beauty, Inc. (Tii:ELF)
This online cosmetic brand is periodically subject to a flurry of shopping binges, driven by rumors that their $1 and $2 products are really repackaged luxury wares from Neiman Marcus. However, staunch fans remain with the discount brand on the strength of their inexpensive but high-quality mineral makeups and professional-quality tools. About half of the company's profits come from online sales every year, which left them well-positioned to adapt to the pandemic. The company increased third-quarter year-over-year net sales by 7% to $72.4 million.
When looking for new opportunities to buy what you know, the items in your medicine cabinet and makeup bag can offer many clues. Look at the brands you love to see to learn which you can own.