What matters most to women buying cosmetics in the US

By Deanna Utroske contact

- Last updated on GMT

What matters most to women buying cosmetics in the US
In Mintel’s latest report on US beauty consumer expectations and motivations, analysts and data reveal current insights on how to best engage and educate shoppers as well as how to lift cosmetic and personal care sales.

The market research company’s 2016 report The Beauty Consumer – US, indicates business is good: “The overall beauty and personal care market has been on a positive growth trajectory in recent years, with beauty product sales expected to continue to grow, driven by an improving economy and growth in the US population,” ​comments Margie Nanninga, beauty analyst at Mintel.

According to the data, most women buy and use beauty products for the same reason, but they don’t all want to look the same. Additionally, how and where consumers gather data and make purchasing decisions is changing as digital natives make up a greater percentage of the buying public.

“While broad-based, traditional advertising and packaging are vital to reaching older consumers, Millennial-focused brands and product lines must have a strong online presence. Millennials are looking for the personal, interactive experience offered by mobile apps and social media sites, which are readily accessible via smartphones,” ​explains Nanninga.

Universal

Mintel statistics show that women’s broad-brush objectives for buying and using beauty products are nearly universal. 71% of women who buy beauty in the States “agree that it’s important to always look their best when leaving the house,” ​according to the report. And nearly as many, 69%, “say that they get a boost of self-esteem from using beauty products.”

“Even as the majority of women use some beauty products on a regular basis and many enjoy shopping, sampling and using products, we find that most women are prioritizing effective, easy-to-apply products,” ​says Nanninga.

This means packaging and dispensing technology is especially crucial, as are formulations that suit the simpler applications. But, it doesn’t mean that beauty is one-size-fits-all or that one message will sell well with every consumer.

While products that are easy to apply will have maximum appeal to a wide range of women, the key challenge for brands is how to more deeply and systematically engage with users at different tiers of interest to help them become more dedicated and passionate beauty product users,” ​affirms Nanninga.

Individual

It’s been said that social media reinforces a singular notion of beauty. But Mintel data shows that consumers don’t really all want to look alike or be always on-trend. “Female beauty product consumers value originality,” ​notes the firm.

81% of US women buying beauty “believe it is important to express a personal style.” ​And well over half, 64% think “that it’s important to keep up a youthful appearance.”

Commercial

Mintel’s report on US personal care and cosmetic consumer expectations suggests that some preferences are so prevalent that nearly every brand should consider formulating, packaging, and marketing with those tastes in mind. It also shows that many women value their individuality and this puts a twist on it.

“Positive consumer attitudes underpin the high usage of beauty products and suggest marketing themes related to both confidence and the pleasure of a beauty routine are likely to resonate with women,” ​observes Nanninga. “Whether for mass or prestige brands, it is important to highlight how women can create diverse, personal looks and cultivate their own style rather than showcasing the newest trends.”

Additionally, “capitalizing on [beauty] enthusiasts’ interest in experimentation, trends, free samples, and online reviews can help generate or boost sales,” ​says Shannon Romanowski, category manager  of health, household, beauty and personal care at Mintel, in her statement about the 2016 report on the company site.  

“In-store, online, wearable, and mobile technologies all offer potentially powerful tools to engage, educate, and orient today’s beauty consumer,” ​adds Romanowski.

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