'Connect, communicate and engage': Digital and social increasingly important in beauty

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

60% of digital beauty consumers have used a beauty app in the last 12 months and 45% rely heavily on user reviews, according to Euromonitor International's Beauty Survey 2019 (Getty Images)
60% of digital beauty consumers have used a beauty app in the last 12 months and 45% rely heavily on user reviews, according to Euromonitor International's Beauty Survey 2019 (Getty Images)

Related tags: Euromonitor international, Beauty, beauty 4.0, digital, premium beauty

There’s a rising mountain of digital beauty consumers that will snowball in size and influence in coming years, and brands and retailers that understand their needs will be in a strong position for future growth, says Euromonitor International.

Beauty is facing a rise in digital consumerism, a deepening of premium expectations and shifting ideals around masculinity – three key trends identified in Euromonitor International’s Beauty Survey 2019 Key Insights​ report published this month. Compiled by Euromonitor International senior survey analyst Priyaka Bagde, the report collates results from the research provider’s annual international beauty category survey.

The rise of digital beauty consumers - industry and consumers ‘closer’ than ever before

Writing in the report, Bagde said: “Developments in digital technology have brought brands, retailers, influencers and beauty advisors closer to beauty consumers than ever before. This has given rise to digital beauty consumers, an emerging consumer segment who are not only influenced and empowered by beauty content available online, but also frequently buy beauty products online.”

“…Digital platforms and social media are playing an increasingly important role in educating consumers about beauty products, ingredients and their specific hair or skin needs, while also offering shopping convenience,”​ she wrote.

According to Euromonitor International survey data, 30% of online consumers were now classified “digital beauty consumers”​ – purchasing beauty products online and influenced by digital media and user-generated content when shopping for beauty and personal care products online.

The research provider said this percentage of digital beauty consumers would continue to grow as more shoppers turned to apps and other digital platforms for brand engagement and purchasing.

Euromonitor International’s Beauty Survey 2019 showed 60% of digital beauty consumers had used a beauty app in the last 12 months, mostly for product information, beauty tips and latest trends, and 45% relied heavily on user reviews when making a purchase decision. This compared to just 23% who relied on information directly from brands or retailers.

Bagde said digital technology offered a “common platform”​ for all stakeholders in the beauty industry to “connect, communicate and engage”.

“Brands and retailers that can understand and target the digital beauty consumer segment will be in a strong position for future growth as this segment will continue to grow in both size and influence in coming years,”​ she wrote.

The premium beauty twist – ‘proven efficacy’ increasingly important for consumers 

The rise of digital means consumers have deeper expectations in premium beauty (Getty Images)
The rise of digital means consumers have deeper expectations in premium beauty (Getty Images)

Bagde said this new wave of digitally-informed consumers were also making more “mindful” ​purchase decisions, particularly in the premium segment where price tags were higher.

“Brand names are no longer the key signifier of premium beauty as consumers examine labels and packaging for ingredients and benefits they associate with ‘premium’.”

This shift, she said, was especially important given premium beauty sales continued to outperform mass.

Findings from the 2019 Beauty Survey showed ‘proven efficacy’ and ‘benefits’ were top traits associated with premium beauty products, followed by ‘natural ingredient formulation’ and ‘premium ingredients’ – way ahead of the simple aspect of being an international brand.

“Brands aiming to position themselves as premium should tap into consumer perceptions of natural and premium ingredients as signals of a premium product. ‘Hero’ ingredients such as collagen, retinol, or hyaluronic acid may be particularly attractive as many consumers already link these with specific benefits and proven effectiveness,”​ Bagde wrote.

She said that whilst personalisation hadn’t yet taken hold in premium beauty, there were “rapid developments”​ in the space that would soon drive consumer expectations for this category to tailor benefits to specific skin or hair needs.

“When asking consumers if they would be willing to pay more for the features they consider premium, proven efficacy and personalised products based on DNA testing topped the list,”​ Badge said. Survey data showed 58% of consumers who defined ‘premium’ as having proven efficacy and benefits would be willing to pay at least 10% more for these features.

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