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Report finds 'showrooming' practice spreading to premium beauty sector

By Michelle Yeomans+

05-Apr-2013
Last updated on 08-Apr-2013 at 09:56 GMT

According to the most recent Premium Market Report, the practice of 'showrooming', whereby consumers check out products in the shops before buying online, is spreading to the premium fragrance & beauty sector.

The latest research survey conducted in partnership with YouGov, looks at the latest trends and consumer buying behaviour within the premium make-up, skincare and fragrance markets and has revealed the extent to which the growth of social media and online choices are influencing women’s decisions.

According to premium beauty analyst and author of the report Imogen Matthews, the internet is fast becoming important as a place to browse for information before buying, especially amongst certain age groups, as the survey revealed that 24 per cent of women aged 35-44 like to check out products and prices in the shops, then buy online, compared to the average 17 per cent. 

These findings are significant as they point to a real change in women’s shopping habits. Online and offline are equally important, especially to women in the 25-44 age group, who appear to be playing each channel off against the other,” she says.

"The premium fragrance & beauty industry needs to up its game by developing multi-channel choices and blending physical stores, online and mobile,” she adds.

Fading lipstick effect

In the 21 years of researching the premium beauty sector, Matthews says she has seen how resilient the lipstick effect has been, as women continued to buy products and treat themselves, despite money being tight.

However, for the first time in 2012, the industry expert says growth in the premium beauty market has slowed to +5 per cent, down from +11 per cent the previous year which suggests that the growth experienced by brands and retailers in the segment may not last.

The signs are that the Lipstick Factor may not last. Women are becoming nervous about spending out on higher-priced premium brands and some are actually downgrading to cheaper ones."

Finally, the report reveals that middle age groups are the most affected by the stagnant economic situation and are more careful about how much they spend, while buying less than they used to and also represent the core demographic buying group for premium brands.

"With 35 per cent of women aged 25-34 and 33 per cent aged 35-44 more careful about how much they spend on premium beauty products, companies need to work harder than ever to win them over in the face of stiff competition from masstige and mass brands."

For a full look at that report, please see here .  

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