The survey put Estee Lauder at the top of the luxury cosmetics category and Mary Kay at the top of the mass equivalent.
Both brands were described by consumers as a ‘trusted brand that knows me’, illustrating values other than price are important even in a recession.
Estee Lauder also topped the luxury moisturising skin care category, sharing the position with Japan-based luxury brand Shiseido.
According to the survey both brands were perceived to provide smoother and younger looking skin, suggesting performance was as important, or perhaps more important than price.
Mary Kay also topped the mass version of this category, in a tie with Aveeno. Consumers felt Aveeno visibly transformed the skin, and Mary Kay was thought to be a strong brand for the value, according to the Brandkeys’ survey.
Looking at the results over all the categories, the survey included brands ranging from airlines to vodka, shows that even when consumers are tightening the purse strings, shoppers are not just opting for the cheapest option, according to Brandkeys founder Robert Passikoff.
“Shopper consciousness has shifted from just trying to ferret out deals to looking for brands that provide value,” he said.
Strong branding helps fight off private labels
This bodes well for brands competing in the middle market where consumers may be tempted to move towards cheaper private label alternatives.
Some analysts have predicted that private labels will clean up in the current economic climate with consumers focusing on price but Brandkeys’ conclusion suggests if the brand is strong enough and associated with good value for money, it may fight off the competition.
A Citigroup report published in June 2008 estimated that private labels were 21 percent cheaper than their big name alternatives.
According to the report, private labels accounted for 11.4 of total personal care and household sales in the US for the first half of the year, but that market share was growing quicker than in the previous year.