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Cosmetics Consumers Follow the Price

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When it comes to shopping channel, price trumps all else, according to new research on cosmetics consumers.

Even in the age of virtual makeup tryouts and digital disruptors, cosmetics sales may still be best suited to bricks and mortar, according to Harris Poll.*

When considering a new cosmetic product, 66% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase if they can interact with the product in-person in-store (top channel is the “big box” retailers, followed by pharmacies and grocery stores), according to new data from Harris Poll. This is especially true because 57% of survey respondents are wary of buying cosmetics online because computer screen colors could vary.

In-store, about one third of consumers ask for help from a store associate when looking at a new cosmetic product.

28% of hair color product and non-sunscreen SPF product shoppers shop online

However, online is a key influencer, with 57% of consumers browsing product reviews on the internet. But the real influencer is price, with 90% of Harris Poll respondents saying they will buy a product wherever it's cheapest.

Harris Poll found that:

  • Roughly 90% of consumers shop in person for hair styling products, shampoos and conditioners, cosmetics, non-sunscreen products with SPF protection, and sunscreen.
  • Shoppers purchase 59% of hair styling product shoppers, 59% of shampoos/conditioners, 57% of non-sunscreen products with SPF protection, 56% of sunscreen, and 51% of hair color products from “big box” retailers.
  • Retail stores are the top merchant for cosmetic (50%) and facial/skin care product (49%) purchasers.
  • Top cosmetic shopping channels include big box retailers (50%), online (40%), pharmacies (39%), department stores (23%), specialty beauty product merchants (23%) and online specialty beauty merchants.
  • 34% of facial/skin care product shoppers shop online
  • 29% of hair styling product shoppers shop online
  • 28% of hair color product and non-sunscreen SPF product shoppers shop online
  • 22% of sunscreen shoppers shop online
  • 17% of shampoo and conditioner shoppers shop online

*The poll surveyed 2,223 U.S. adults online between September 19 and October 3, 2016, including 2,088 purchasers of cosmetic and grooming products. 


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