Beauty is in the Eye of the Blog Holder
What Influences Women to Purchase Beauty Products?
Women spend approximately $7 billion per year on cosmetics and beauty products in the U.S.1 on an annual basis. BlogHer Inc., in partnership with DeVries Public Relations, conducted a survey to gather insight about what was motivating women to buy beauty and personal care products. Do they prefer offline or online shopping for this category? What is motivating their beauty product purchases? Are women relying more on new media now for inspiration and information about cosmetics?
In October 2010, we fielded a survey to the more than 25 million readers of the BlogHer publishing network, in order to get answers to these and other issues involving the beauty product category.
The sample size consisted of 1,074 women. The majority, (48%) were 18-34, 31% were 35-44 and 13% were 45-54. The cosmetic topic contributed to the youthful skew of the sample. Three quarters of the total respondents were both blog readers and writers.
The BlogHer audience mirrors the general online population when it comes to attitudes about beauty products. A recent study (Women, the Web and their Wallets) showed directionally similar results among both panels regarding where women go to research information about cosmetics, although the BlogHer audience was more likely to utilize social networking.
What Sources do you Use to Research Beauty Supplies?
“Women, the Web and Their Wallets”, August 2010: BlogHer Inc. with CwC
Shopping for Beauty: Where, How and Why?
The brick and mortar store (offline) beats online shopping for beauty products by a margin of four to one. And this ratio extends across all beauty verticals; cosmetics, skin care or hair care. Women want a 3-D experience when it comes to beauty products; they have to see it, feel it and touch it.
“Where have you purchased personal care and beauty products in the last 30 days?”
Mass retailers (such as Target or Wal*Mart) led the pack (55%) for where women make most of their beauty product purchases offline. Online, women prefer to shop at a branded beauty site (17%) as opposed to a department store site (3%).
Cost and efficiency were cited as the top reasons for preferring online shopping, although most women (39%) still said they would prefer to purchase their cosmetics in a real store. Older women (45-55) were most likely to point to “quicker and more efficient” as their reason to go online to buy beauty products. This makes sense intuitively, considering that older women may be more pressed for time with work and family obligations.
Online Shopping Advantages:
What Opens Women’s Wallets for Beauty?
Women selected recommendations from friends as well as cost savings as their top motivations when offered multiple reasons for making beauty product purchases. Free samples and discounts are important prompts, and so are offline friends. A review from a known blogger was a strong #3 ranked incentive to buy a beauty product. In fact, women were more likely to purchase based on a blog review (54%) than a top rated (4-5 star) online consumer generated review (46%).
Asked to determine which resource provides the most helpful advice to assist with beauty and cosmetic purchase decisions, a resounding majority of women in this study selected “Familiar Blogger”.
"Which Resource is Most Helpful to Provide Beauty Product Advice and Recommendations?"
Other forms of new media score high as frequently used resources for beauty product research. 25% said they would use online news or apps for this purpose and 21% said they’d go to a branded website. However not all new media topped the list. Only 5% said they would use Facebook or Twitter for beauty research. Traditional media sources (television and print newspapers) were at the bottom of the heap with only 4% each.
Bloggers are Setting the Beauty Bar Standards
The gold standard for beauty information has long been found in magazines such as Vogue, Cosmopolitan and W, but that tradition has changed. When asked whether they considered bloggers as much as magazine editors as a resource for beauty product recommendations, a whopping 80% responded, “Yes”. In fact, bloggers are more than two and a half times more likely to drive actual beauty product purchases, than magazines.
"Over the last 6 months, which resource was more likely to cause you to make a beauty product purchase?"
Women in this survey were extremely passionate about the beauty product purchases they had made based on a recommendation from a blog review. 423 respondents took the time to describe their experiences in glowing terms and great detail. And it’s not just beauty bloggers that are commanding all the attention for this vertical. Trust levels were just as high for Parenting, Health and Lifestyle bloggers who also wrote about beauty.
Blog Verticals that Readers Trust the Most for Beauty Product Advice and Recommendations:
Conclusions and Key Findings:
Shopping habits still favor the actual store, but online influences are taking over as motivation to buy cosmetics, skin and hair care:
- Women buy beauty products offline at a rate four times greater than online. Women research online and buy offline.
- Familiar bloggers are more helpful (61%) for providing beauty product advce than store websites (46%), social networks (33%) or message boards (20%).
- Women are just as likely to trust the beauty product advice from a Parenting (43%), Health (42%) or Lifestyle (37%) blog as from a Beauty and Fashion blog (43%).
- Blogs are more than two times more likely (63%) than magazines (26%) to have inspired a beauty product purchase over the last six months.
No matter where a woman ends up buying her beauty and personal care products…she’s doing her research and finding information online before doing so.
1 Hoovers.com. “Cosmetics, Beauty Supply and Perfume Stores Industry Overview.”