As Sephora stops IP-redirecting UK users to its English language US site due to apparent privacy restrictions, new IRUK Top500 research suggests that low UK web traffic could be part of the explanation.
“Due to recently enacted data privacy regulations, Sephora clients in the UK and Netherlands will now be directed to Sephora France’s website, Sephora.fr,” the company’s customer service team said in an email to InternetRetailing.
“Due to this ruling we would not be able to provide any exceptions. If a UK or Netherlands citizen is in the US, then they would be able to access the US site.”
The retailer also confirmed that since 17 July orders placed at Sephora.com were no longer being shipped to the UK.
Sephora attributed the change to the General Data Protection Regulation, introduced in May, which imposes restrictions on all companies handling the data of EU citizens.
Compliance for Sephora has come at the cost of a diminished user experience. For one thing, English-speaking users can no longer access product names and descriptions in their own language. Some users have also complained of weaker functionality and losing their points accrued under the site’s loyalty scheme.
But the retailer may not be particularly concerned. According to an analysis conducted by SimilarWeb, a knowledge partner of InternetRetailing’s research arm RetailX, the UK market accounts for only a small fraction of the retailer’s traffic.
According to the research, the UK accounts for 8.2 million page views per annum to Sephora websites, 3.7 percent of the 220 million total from consumers in the EU.
By comparison, France, which has a similar population and GDP as the UK, is the source of 98 million visits. The US and Canada are responsible for 210 million and 108 million respectively.
Visitors from Australia, Brazil, Poland, Italy, Singapore, Mexico, Greece, Spain, Myanmar, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, and New Zealand are, in order, responsible for more traffic than those in the UK.
The 25 Sephora websites RetailX tracks receive, globally, approximately 800 million page views per annum according to the same body of SimilarWeb data.
Commenting on the findings, Martin Shaw, head of research at RetailX, says: “While commentary to date has focused on the inconvenience to Sephora’s UK consumers, our research suggests that the UK market is a relatively small source of direct-to-consumer sales for the brand which is nevertheless quite popular through resellers.
“Regardless, it would appear that GDPR is already affecting the retail landscape with companies finding more barriers to trade. Retailers based in the EU may have the advantage here as higher standards of data protection can transfer internationally, whereas the reverse is not the case.”