Sephora has finally made an entry into the local market by taking over another cosmetics retailer’s New Zealand site.
On January 5, Singapore-based cosmetics site Luxola NZ became Sephora NZ, changing its branding and expanding its product offering.
Currently, Sephora is only shipping products to New Zealand customers through its online site and doesn’t have the full product range of its American site.
However, a physical store could be within the realms of possibility.
Sephora has been expanding in the Southern hemisphere, opening its first Australian store in Sydney in December 2014 and two more stores in Sydney and Melbourne at the end of 2015.
Sephora is one of the biggest cosmetics retailers worldwide. It was founded in France by Dominique Mandonnaud in 1970 and now has 1900 stores across the globe.
It also could be forced to expand into the New Zealand market physically if its competitors have anything to do with it.
Australian cosmetics store Mecca Maxima is due to open a New Zealand store in Tim Glasson’s ANZ Centre in Christchurch later this year.
Mecca Maxima Sydney
The store will open facing onto Cashel St opposite The Crossing, which will be home to Topshop, and will cover 155 square metres.
These movements show the beauty industry is booming worldwide, thanks in part to social media. It’s changed the way consumers browse and purchase goods and in turn, the way brands market themselves.
Beauty YouTubers are now the spokespeople for all things makeup related, telling devoted followers on social media what makeup to buy and how to wear it.
The influence YouTubers have is often underestimated. A survey by Variety last year found that YouTubers were the most influential figures for US teens ahead of celebrities.
Back home in New Zealand, the beauty industry is also booming – as shown by brands like Elizabeth Arden, Sephora and Mecca Maxima starting to take notice.
A Facebook group called ‘Makeup Obsessives!!!<3<3’ in which people discuss and recommend beauty products has almost 40,000 members, while Palmerston North-based beauty YouTuber Shaaanxo has a huge following that hangs off her every word.
In total, she has over two million subscribers on YouTube, over three million likes on Facebook, and over one million followers on Instagram.
As Beauty Bliss makeup owner Toni Barrett told NZRetail Magazine last year, “I think the YouTubers are so much more influential than a lot of people realise and social media like Facebook and Instagram is too, because its so visual and makeup’s such a visual thing.
It’s changed the way the people are buying things.”
CEO of Engagement Labs Bryan Segal said that social media is crucial in the way beauty brands are marketing themselves today.
“Social media has reinvented the meaning of DIY in beauty," he said.
"Today, major social media influencers as well as everyday consumers are using channels like Instagram to showcase their makeup artistry, and endorse the brands that make them feel glamorous. Smart brands are initiating these activities and, at the very least, repurposing them on their own branded channels to influence purchasing decisions."
Social media accounts are a must for beauty brands, often fronted by a well-known figure.
Estée Lauder recently signed Kendall Jenner (who has a 40+ million following on Instagram) as a spokesperson, while other brands are collaborating more with beauty YouTubers.
A Sephora New Zealand Instagram account made a week ago has already accumulated almost 2000 followers.