Nov 24, 2020
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Beauty shoppers turn online but stick with what they know - report

Nov 24, 2020

Consumers may be buying more beauty products online, but they’re less experimental when they do so and tend to stick to what they know.

Beauty shoppers tend to play it safe when buying online - Image: Public domain

That’s according to a new report from AI-powered commerce experience platform Nosto and research specialist Censuswide. 

They spoke to 2,000 Gen Z and Millennial consumers in the UK and US and said that 44% of beauty shoppers in a survey have bought more beauty and skincare products online over the last six months. That’s an unsurprising figure given multiple temporary store closures and many consumers being unwilling to venture out. 

But at the same time as their purchases are increasing, 56% of consumers (or 62% among female shoppers) tend to stick with brands or products they’ve bought before.

It seems beauty shoppers are being ultra-cautious and don’t want to risk buying the wrong thing. Other findings support that view. For instance, 74% of shoppers overall and 80% of female shoppers are more likely to buy beauty and skincare products from an online store that has reviews throughout the website, and 72% from an online store that sends free ‘try before you buy’ samples as many online retailers have been doing since the pandemic hit.

That sampling approach could be the key to getting consumers to try new brands or products more often.

Virtual try-on facilities could also be important and 45% of respondents said the ability to try out products first in this way would make them more likely to buy from an e-commerce store.

Consumers appear to be open to personalisation too. Some 66% said they’re more likely to buy from sites that use technology that “recommend new or relevant products to me that are similar to what I am shopping for”. Additionally, 63% are more likely to buy from sites that “remember my shopping preferences and customise the online experience accordingly”. Meanwhile, 58% seem to be very open to online quiz-like experiences to recommend the right products to fit their unique needs and would be more likely to buy from an e-store that offers this.

Importantly too, a massive 68% agreed that when shopping online, they’re very or somewhat likely to buy beauty and skincare products that use ‘clean ingredients’. Some 65% say the same for products advertised with ‘cruelty-free testing’. But only 41% said they were very or somewhat likely to buy beauty and skincare products described as vegan. It seems that the increased ethical stance consumers are taking to the fashion industry post-pandemic is being repeated in the beauty sector.

“With lockdowns and continuing concerns over Covid-19 likely to lead to the continued shutdown or restrictions of physical retail, beauty and cosmetics retailers face a huge opportunity online – despite challenges around encouraging shoppers to try out new brands and products,” said Jake Chatt, Head of Brand Marketing at Nosto.

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