Just last month Andrea Van Dam, CEO of Women’s Marketing, and Marlea Clark, executive vice president of marketing and insights for the firm, along with Debbie Kelly, engagement manager at the Seurat Group, held a webinar full of new data on ‘How Women Buy Beauty Today.’
Women’s Marketing keeps tabs on the personal care and beauty industry primarily to serve their clients well; the firm actively plans and buys media for 20% of the brands distributed in Sephora, nearly as many of the brands sold at Ulta, and around 33% of mass market beauty brands, according to Van Dam. But this new data gathered and shared in partnership with Seurat Group (a data consultancy) is useful and informative for the industry at large.
The data shows that people are more influential than brands. Indeed, whether it’s beauty counter professionals, in-store associates, paid influencers, customer reviews, or friends and family, people sell product.
Data presented during the Women’s Marketing webinar showed that of the 1,000 women surveyed online (representing a census-like spectrum of ages and backgrounds) 59% “learn about trends and products online,” as Van Dam notes.
For any given product or brand, women get information from an average of 6 sources, she says. And those sources can be thought of in three groups: peers, advisors, and corporate sources like brands and retailers.
From the advisor group, beauty professionals are most trusted with 57% of women taking their advice. Magazine articles are trusted by 38% of women.
Recommendations from the peer group are well trusted too. 52% of women trust stared customer reviews, 51% trust the word of their friends and family, and 36% trust their peers on social media.
Corporate sources are fairly trustworthy as well, according to the data: 40% of women trust information from corporate sources like ads, brand websites, and retailer sites.
Path to purchase
There is no one way that women discover and buy color cosmetics and hair care today. Van Dam notes that only 8% of beauty purchases are transacted online, but she advises brands to have “a social-first strategy” and only then to “layer on other media.”
Brand loyalty is alive and well but there’s more than enough room in the market for new, innovative product. The survey found that 42% of women go into a store to try something new that she’s discovered through content, ads, or influencers. And Kelly points out that just as many women go in to a store looking to try something new as go in to replenish a given product.
Most women who go into a beauty store planning to purchase something: “86% of women arrive at the store intending to buy hair or beauty products” emphasizes Kelly. But when it comes to exactly which brand or product she will buy, 50% of those choices are made in store, according to the Women’s Marketing data.
Multiple factors influence each beauty or hair purchasing decision. For one, brand adjacency helps tremendously with in-store discovery, and Kelly suggests that “brands get as close as you can to the shopper that is interested in what you have to offer.”
She notes that women love shopping for beauty in store because it provides a multisensory experience. The consumer can read product labels and store signage, smell and sample the product, speak one-on-one with an associate, and get information from in-store digital or her own mobile device.
In summary Clark noted that to be the brand that gets bought, one must “build buzz” in the education phase, “get noticed” during the trip-planning phase, “stand out” by being in the right place on the right shelf in the right store, and have a strong “mobile strategy” that helps reduce risk in the decision phase.
The full webinar can be viewed here.