“The idea of offering samples has been around for some time, but sample subscription programs are a fresh way for manufacturers and retailers to engage with interested consumers and monetize their sample programs, while consumers discover brands or products they may not have been aware of previously,” said Karen Grant, vice president and global beauty industry analyst, The NPD Group. “Women strive to find a makeup product that works for them, and when they do, that is the primary reason they become loyal to it.”
Most women like to self-test products without pressure, and samples give them that ability. Take home samples are the second most popular makeup shopping preference, over things like salesperson explanation and personal consultation, but retailers are finding new ways to incorporate samples into the shopping, and even purchasing, experience. One in five makeup users have received a makeup sample in the past year, primarily from retailers (17%).
Women under the age of 55, and specifically the 18–34-year-olds, are most likely to report receiving a makeup sample in the past year. Makeup samples strongly influence purchase decisions for about one-third of women, while over half are somewhat influenced by these samples. The 35–54 age group is the most likely to be influenced by samples, indicating opportunity that goes beyond the youngest generations.
“Sample subscriptions are still relatively small in their reach, but their potential impact on the makeup industry is significant. Incorporating this method of product discovery into a marketing and sales strategy can uncover new consumers and expand on target audiences,” noted Grant.