Based on retail sales, chain beauty store Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance was one of the leading health and beauty retailer in the U.S. In 2017, Ulta generated approximately 5.88 billion U.S. dollars in retail sales. In that year, Sephora’s retail sales reached a total of 5.87 billion U.S. dollars. In recent years, e-commerce has played a greater role in the U.S. cosmetics industry. The share of online health and personal care sales as a percentage of total retail e-commerce sales was projected to increase from 9.3% in 2017 to 9.7% in 2023. In the first quarter of 2018, Amazon's cosmetics category sales increased 20 percent compared to the previous year.
Within the cosmetics category in the U.S., foundation was the most profitable segment. In 2018, about 985 million U.S. dollars were generated from sales of foundations in the U.S. Mascara was the second most profitable segment, with sales revenue of 914.26 million U.S. dollars. Mascara was also the leading segment of the eye cosmetic industry in the U.S. The segment also included eye liners, eye shadows, eyebrow makeup and eye combos. Together, these segments generated about 2.1 billion U.S. dollars in sales revenue in 2018. Besides foundation and mascara, lipstick was also a profitable segment within the cosmetic industry in the U.S., generating 667.2 million U.S. dollars in revenue for the lip cosmetics category.
Given the size of the cosmetics market in the United States, consumers are faced with nearly unlimited options in terms of which brands to purchase, with several brands standing out as among the most popular. According to a 2018 survey, on social media, Kylie Cosmetics had the highest user engagement with 329.77 million actions. Ranked second was Huda Beauty which accounted for 323 million cross-platform actions.