BEAUTY CARE

Survey: Consumers prone to ‘discover’ products online but would rather buy in-store

BY Michael Johnsen

BOSTON — According to a TimeTrade survey released Monday, 85% of consumers prefer shopping in a physical store vs. online, including 70% of consumers who would prefer to shop a brick & mortar Amazon store versus Amazon.com. And in-store expertise drives purchase volume: As many as 90% of consumers are more likely to buy when helped by a knowledgeable associate. 
 
And it's not just old-school baby-boomer shoppers who are spurning online for that in-store shopping experience, the survey found, because 92% of responding millennials plan to shop in-store in 2015 as often or more than they did in 2014.
 
The survey data suggests that shopping trends are favoring the brick-and-mortar model, despite perceptions that the rise of e-tailers would jeopardize the physical retail store, TimeTrade reported. “The bottom line is customers value the personal experience of the physical store,” said Gary Ambrosino, CEO of TimeTrade. “We found that shoppers have done their shopping or discovery online, then go into the store to get help with their final purchase decision.”
 
Given this information, TimeTrade recommends that retailers employ a cross-channel strategy that converts an initial inquiry into a high value, in-store experience. Once in the store, retailers must give customers prompt service with a knowledgeable store associate.
 
"With exponential adoption rates of mobile devices, harnessing the opportunity across the customer journey will be the ultimate game changer,” said Sheryl Kingstone, director at 451 Research. "Retailers need to bridge digital interactions with brick and mortar interactions with new innovative technologies along business process changes.”
 
“We see retail convergence – the coming together of digital and physical retailing – as a game changing trend,” Ambrosino said. “Traditional e-tailers are opening brick-and-mortar locations because they understand very well the highly personal service they can offer in a store and traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are creating more personal, digital-savvy experiences in the store to better serve today’s shopper.”
 
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Mintel: Interest in skin care devices is ‘strong’

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — The skin care device market is primed for growth, according to a new report from Mintel, as women are motivated by convenience and the promise of professional results.

Deep cleansing continues to be a prominent feature of the category, with sonic cleansing brushes generating the highest usage among listed devices in the United States (20%), according to Mintel. U.S. women are most likely to associate cleansing (44%) and exfoliating (55%) benefits with skin care devices, as opposed to topical skin care products. Nonetheless, the category faces challenges including increasing usage and promoting product trials. While innovation around lower-priced items continues, many devices remain out of reach for the average female consumer. Looking forward, technology and products with increased benefit claims will likely drive innovation, Mintel stated.

Face of the skin care device consumer

Current users of skin care devices skew young, particularly for cleansing brushes which are most popular among U.S. women age 18 to 24 due to several factors including skin needs and a general tendency to be more engaged in the beauty category. As may be expected, household income is a significant category driver, with those in the $75,000-plus groups reporting above average usage of skin care devices, according to Mintel. More encouraging for the industry is that skin care devices have a broader audience among women who are interested in trying out new products, suggesting that the device market has room to grow. Women aged 18 to 54 report similar levels of interest for most devices, though interest does skew significantly younger for skin massagers and airbrush makeup applicators. Across the board women agree that price remains a significant barrier when it comes to purchasing a skin care device. While innovation continues around lower-priced devices, many are still priced higher than the optimal price range for women (around $50), according to Mintel data.

Usage is low, but interest is strong

Incidence of skin care devices is low, with only a small percentage of women reporting usage across devices. For example, 6% of women have used a laser device and only 4% have used an airbrush makeup applicator in the last year. Cleansing brushes generate the highest usage rates with 13% of U.S. women stating they have used a sonic cleansing brush in the last year, Mintel stated. Usage is likely driven by a more prominent presence in the marketplace when compared with other devices. While trial is low, interest in skin care devices is strong. Consistent with higher usage and awareness, both sonic (34%) and rotating (33%) cleansing brushes generate some of the highest levels of interest. Despite very low usage, skin massagers produce the strongest interest among women with 36%.

“The skincare device market is relatively new, and while growing, faces some challenges including a high proportion of women that express little interest in trying devices and lapsed users. A combination of low awareness and high price tags is likely driving this lack of interest,” stated Shannon Romanowski, senior beauty and personal care analyst at Mintel. “A small percentage of users report using skincare beauty devices longer than 12 months ago. Reasons for discontinued use could be that women didn’t see enough of a benefit from these products. This showcases the need for communicating the long-term skincare benefits of the device.”

Motivated by results, recommendations and reviews

Outside of replacement (49%), beauty device users are motivated to purchase new devices by a variety of factors including special offers (28%), reviews (28%) and family/friend recommendations (26%). When asked what the top reasons for purchasing a beauty care device, 36% of U.S. women referenced trying a product out and liking the results, while 30% were impressed with product results on someone they know.

“Many of the cited purchase influencers revolve around seeking more information, including reviews and recommendations, which is driven by the relative newness of the skincare device category, combined with high price points,” Romanowski stated.

While women are seeking information from a variety of sources, the in-store experience also remains important. Regardless of product type, skin care device shoppers are most likely to cite mass merchandisers as their top destination for beauty devices (55%). The accessibility, affordability and convenience associated with mass merchandisers make them a popular choice for U.S. consumers. Online retailers are also a popular choice for 35% of beauty product shoppers, while 13% prefer to browse beauty products online and buy in-store, according to Mintel data.

Innovation in the form of wearables

The next evolution in skin care devices are coming in the form of technology and products that promise new benefits. According to Mintel Trend Second Skin, wearable technology is going beyond allowing consumers to be hands-free, it’s helping people to monitor their health, and even maintain their appearance. As the market grows and usage increases, consumers will seek out products that offer greater benefits.

“We’re seeing innovation in the category in two specific areas: tech and benefits claims. The latest innovations in skincare devices include mobile apps, smart devices and wearable technology, including cleansing brushes with a microchip that adjusts speed and cleansing time based on the user's skin needs and an iPhone-connected device that uses transdermal skin imaging to develop a customized skincare routine,” Romanowski stated. “For consumers looking to target specific skincare needs, innovation comes in the form benefit claims like wrinkle reduction or hair removal. As the category evolves, we’ll continue to see innovation in products that target specific consumer needs.”

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Research examines which sunscreen brands are poised to win online

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — With Memorial Day just around the corner, Clavis Insight, which monitors e-commerce performance for global CPG and FMCG brands, took a look at the sunscreen category to determine which brands were in the best position to capture online consumer dollars.

Its analysis included six online retailers — Amazon, CVS.com, drugstore.com, Target.com, Walgreens.com and Walmart.com — and focused on the search terms “sunscreen” and “sunblock.” Using data collected from late March through mid-April, the company examined who was winning Search, Ratings & Reviews and breadth of distribution

 Findings included —

Search:

  • Half of Rocky Mountain Sunscreen products, available at drugstore.com and Walgreens.com, returned in the top 20 results against key category search terms at these retailers.
  • Walmart favors its own Equate sunscreen brand, placing 40% of these products in the top 20 search results against key category search terms.
  • Optimizing products to rank in the top 20 against key category Search terms and then consistently monitoring Search performance is imperative for online success. According to Millward Brown Digital, less than 30% of Amazon shoppers click beyond the first page of search results, so if a brand is not returning on the first one to two pages of key search term results, they aren’t “on shelf” for those consumers.

Ratings & Reviews:

  • Bain De Soleil is a consumer favorite, with all products reviews and rated highly.
  • Australia Gold and Hawaiian Tropic optimize their high reviews with broad distribution across all retailers in scope for the research.
  • Sunology, Bull Frog, No-Ad & Eltamd combine great search results with high reviews — a winning combination, according to researchers.
  • Retailer’s search algorithms give some weighting to ratings, the company stated, so it’s not unexpected for highly reviewed products to rank highly against category search terms.

Breadth of distribution: 11 brands had products listed at all 6 online retailers assessed — excellent breadth of distribution, according to researchers.

 

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