Even though advertisers for the US beauty industry are investing less than one-quarter of their budgets in digital channels, the internet is a common source of information when US consumers are researching beauty and grooming products. In a recent edition of The Checkout [download page] from The Integer Group, consumers appear to be using social media platforms more for this purpose than they did two years ago.
Back in 2018, when consumers were asked where they conducted online research in the beauty/grooming category, 6 in 10 (58%) cited search engines, while sources such as YouTube (13%), Facebook (10%) and Instagram (8%) were used considerably less often.
Two years later, only 36% of consumers say they use search engines as a source of information about beauty products. Instead, social media sources have seen increases across the board, with the biggest increases in usage being for YouTube (30%, up from 12%) and Instagram (23%, up from 8%).
A Shift Towards Specialty and Online Retailers
Although the largest proportion of the more than 1,200 consumers surveyed say they shopped most often at Walmart (21%, down from 31% in 2018) for beauty and grooming products over the past year, consumers appear to be gravitating towards specialty beauty stores like Sephora and Ulta (16%, up from 14%). E-commerce giant Amazon has also grown, with 1 in 8 (13%) respondents shopping on the platform for beauty and grooming products this year, up from just 4% a couple of years ago.
As for who beauty advertisers should be targeting, Millennials and Gen Xers are a prime target audience. Of those consumers who claim to spend at least $40 on their go-to beauty/grooming product, 39% are between the ages of 35 and 44, while 29% are between 25-34 years-old.
The Quest For “Clean” Beauty
With Millennials reporting a strong preference for socially responsible brands, another area worth considering for advertisers is that of “clean” beauty products. Though the definition of “clean” beauty varies, there is increased interest in products that don’t contain harmful chemicals and/or have an adverse impact on the environment or animals.
The subcategories where the most interest lies for “clean” products include shampoo/conditioner, face products, body products, deodorant and makeup products. And, while a plurality of consumers say they decide if a beauty product is clean by reading the list of ingredients (21%), others find out by either doing their own research (12%) or by looking in the “clean” beauty section of the store or online (9%).
The full issue can be downloaded here.
About the Data: Findings are based on an April 2020 survey of 1,207 US adult consumers.