The findings also point to an inquisitive beauty consumer who is willing to try and experiment with new beauty products, while also underlining that values remain highly important. Among the most important are those upheld by the clean beauty movement, while vegan claims continue to rise in popularity.
CosmeticsDesign-USA (CDU) spoke to Andrew Smith (AS), Vice President of Marketing, PowerReviews to find out more about how the survey was conducted and what all the findings might mean to beauty industry manufacturers and suppliers.
CDU: Can you provide some background information about the beauty shopper survey, including the methodology?
AS: The PowerReviews Health and Beauty Shopping Trends in 2023 was conducted as the company recognized that a growing portion of beauty spending is happening online. However, brick-and-mortar continues to thrive – for those businesses that get it right. Because of this evolution, marketing strategies and tactics that were effective in the past may not cut it for today’s beauty shoppers. Instead, beauty brands and retailers must adapt their strategies to be omnichannel in nature and to attract, convert, and retain shoppers in a crowded marketplace.
PowerReviews surveyed 26,340 US consumers in May 2023 to find out how modern consumers browse and buy online – and the key factors that influence their purchase decisions. This research is an update of the survey report from the previous year: Meeting Beauty Shopper Digital Expectations in a Post-Pandemic World.
The survey included representatives across several generations, including Gen Z (10%), Millennials (57%), Gen X (27%), and Baby Boomers (6%), 79% of whom were beauty enthusiasts, while 12% considered themselves to be brand loyalists, 9% were beauty novices. Annual household incomes ranged from less than $10,000 up to $150,000 or higher, with a fairly even split among these ranges:
CDU: What are the survey’s key takeaways?
AS: Year-over-year, consumers are spending more on beauty: 29% of consumers say they spend over $200 per month on beauty products. That number was 15% in 2022. Both online and in-store buyers are open to new possibilities: The largest portion of consumers (35%) shopping for beauty products online say 26 to 50% of their online beauty purchases over the past 12 months were for products they’d never tried before. Over 3 in 10 (31%) say new products account for 51% or more of their online beauty purchases from the past year.
The largest portion (40%) of in-store shoppers say 26 to 50% of their in-store beauty purchases from the last year were beauty products they’ve never tried before. Nearly 3 in 10 (29%) say new-to-them products made up more than half of their in-store beauty purchases in the most recent 12-month period. 37% of beauty shoppers use Google search results as a way to learn about new beauty products they’ve never purchased before. And 29% trust these results when it comes to making a purchase decision.
Beauty shoppers are guided by their values: 38% of shoppers say it’s important that a beauty brand is Black-owned. 80% of consumers say it’s at least somewhat important to them that the product in question is “clean” – being sustainably made with natural ingredients. While nearly half (48%) say it’s important that a beauty product they’re considering is vegan.
Online beauty buying is growing: Consumers are spending a larger portion of their beauty budgets online. This year, over a third (37%) of consumers say they spend more than $101 online on beauty products per month as opposed to 24% in 2022. But nearly a third (32%) of consumers are spending more than $100 in-store on beauty products each month. In 2022, 17% said this was the case.
And, when it comes to what influences consumers to purchase beauty products, 88% of consumers consider ratings and reviews when making a beauty purchase decision; 67% consider photos and videos from other shoppers. 70% of beauty shoppers use this content to learn about products they’ve never purchased before.
Ratings and reviews are the factor consumers trust the most. 89% indicate they trust ratings and reviews when it comes to deciding whether or not to buy beauty products.
CDU: How can the data results from this survey be used by manufacturers and suppliers to the cosmetics and personal care product industries to better understand consumers and improve the shopping experience?
AS: Beauty shoppers consider many factors when deciding whether or not to purchase a beauty product. But one factor rises to the top: user-generated content. 88% of consumers consider ratings and reviews when making a beauty purchase decision; 67% consider photos and videos from other shoppers. In fact, user-generated content is even more impactful than recommendations from family and friends as 63% of shoppers say this is something they consider when deciding whether or not to buy a beauty product.
With regard to improving the shopping experience, Beauty – perhaps more than any other product category – is highly visual in nature. Seeing what a product looks like on others is key to determining whether the product will fit a shopper’s needs. Brand-provided imagery is important. But seeing a product being used by real people in real life is even more powerful. So it’s not surprising that consumer-generated photos and videos are the #2 consideration for beauty shoppers.
User-generated imagery is an important tool for product discovery. Over half (53%) of shoppers say they turn to this content to learn about beauty products they haven’t purchased before. In addition, 67% of consumers trust user-generated imagery when it comes to making beauty purchase decisions.
This is a two-part interview. Part 2 is available here: PowerReviews survey underscores the importance of product reviews and sampling