From The Editor's Desk

Are beauty consumers tiring of social media?

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Are beauty consumers growing tired of social media?
If a new report from TABS is anything to go by beauty consumers are losing interest in social media as a go-to for purchasing decisions. Here we take a closer at the data and try to find out what is next.

The TABS annual US Color Cosmetics report highlights some interesting shifts in social media influence that perhaps all beauty and personal care brands worldwide could eventually learn from.

The US color cosmetics market is probably one of the fastest-paced and most innovative categories in the industry, making it an area of the market that could provide insight for other categories, and not just in the US market.

Color cosmetics buyers love social media

The data reflects the fact that the mainstay consumer for color cosmetics products is women aged 18 to 35, who are also statistically amongst the most prolific users of social media platforms. 

These are the type of women who turn to social media for ideas, advice, inspiration and to discover the latest product launches on the market. But are those women now growing tired of social media?

Is there just too much noise coming from platforms such as You Tube, Instagram and Facebook, and are women starting to feel overexposed and inundated by brands and/or influencers failing to be persuasive?

First data pointing to a decline in social media influence

The report looks at a cross section of 1,000 women across the US and aged between 18 to 75, but emphasises that most respondents were in the 18 to 35 age range.

Those women reported in October of 2018 that they were relying less on social media platforms such as You Tube Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest and Instagram to make their color cosmetics buying decisions. 

In fact, for the first time in the three years that the data has been collected, women reported that that they are less likely to view social media as "very important", as the percentage of women agreeing with this statement slipped from 39% to 37%, compared to the figures for 2017.

Although the figures still indicated that social media is very important for influencing purchasing decisions, it is also amongst the first specific indications that the influence of social media is on the demise.

So where to go from here?

One thing should be made clear and that is that social media still has a significant impact on buying decisions across a range of beauty and personal care categories worldwide. 

Also, while the TABS data indicates that the beauty bloggers are showing less impact on purchasing decisions, they are still the most significant influence on beauty purchases, indicating that digital consumers continue to reference their preferred beauty advisers online in massive numbers. James Harles is one of the most popular and currently has over 11 million subscribers to his You Tube channel.

But moving beyond that, perhaps the most interesting extrapolation of the TABS data points to the fact that, digitally speaking, more US women continue to make their actual purchases through e-commerce, over bricks and mortar stores.

If this indication is to eventually reflect on the trend for other categories and other regions worldwide, the likelihood is that e-commerce may prove a better area to invest in in an effort to influence beauty and personal care purchasing decisions in the future.

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