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New Research: Beauty Shoppers Confirm the Power of Retail

Online shopping is on the increase, but is it taking over?

According to a new study* into omnichannel shopping from brand and retail merchandising display specialists Kesslers, 18.7 million UK consumers shop regularly online.

The frequency of shopping online is forecast to grow and shoppers are predicting they will be spending more time online in the next 12 months.

So, what does this mean for retailers who are struggling to get consumers through their doors and to commit to purchasing once they are there?

Kesslers research strongly suggests that most consumers are still buying from shops:

  • 88% made a purchase in-store in the last 7 days
  • 67% of consumers made a purchase using a PC or laptop in the last 7 days
  • 28% made a purchase online using a tablet or smart phone

Why go to a shop? 79% say it’s because they can see, touch and try merchandise, while 66% go to get the product immediately.

Why shop online? 74% say they can shop 24/7 and 66% say there’s no need to travel to a physical store. Lower prices and better deals are a consideration for 54% of consumers.

Charles Kessler, Chairman, Kesslers, sees the two channels as dovetails working tougher and even interdependent. “Despite prolific use and accessibility of online shopping, 2016 consumers still feel it is important to experience brands in-store.”

He adds: “Retailers need to embrace the omnichannel explosion, by creating truly engaging and memorable brand experiences. In-store is a far more sensorial experience which enhances more meaningful brand relationships than any other channel. It is this notion that retailers need to embrace in order to motivate product purchases, irrelevant to whether the purchase is actually made via PC, mobile, tablet or in-store itself.”

Shopper Profiles in 2016

Kesslers identified 6 profiles of shopper based on demographics, behavioural and attitudinal factors:

Shopper Profiles

The data shows that all consumers, regardless of their profile, conduct a mix of online and in-store shopping.

Regardless of whether they are savvy online users (Genereation 1) or more online-averse (Static Surfers), the majority of consumers believe it is essential for a brand to have an in-store presence: 70% of all consumers believe this.

While it is easy to conclude that more conservative shoppers are more likely to believe a brand should have an in-store presence, this isn’t actually the case:

78% of under 35s say it’s essential for brands to be represented in-store

85% of this demographic say that products displayed well in-store enhances their retail experience.

Enhancing the In-Store Experience

The top 5 factors consumers think are important in improving their in-store experience are:

91% Range & Choice
This is less important to male dominant shopper profiles, Pick-N-Mixer and Static Surfers

88% Getting a Bargain
Increasingly important following the economic downturn

86% Layout/Ease of Navigation
A consistently high rated attribute across all shopper profiles

80% Well Displayed Products
85% in the case of the Generation 1, the youngest profile, who see in-store as a chance to experience brands

79% Clear Product Information
The most important attribute for the Pressured Parent shopper profile

Consumers Prefer the In-Store Experience for Beauty & Fragrance

The research further highlighted that the beauty and fashion category was by far the most important one consumers want to experience in-store:

When picking one product category, 35% of consumers say they want to experience beauty & fragrance in-store before making a purchase.

Charles comments: “This is because they are the most sensory categories, where purchases are largely focused on brand engagement and product experience.

“The beauty category is a completely different set of motivations compared to convenience or necessity purchases which many consumers are prepared to purchase online.”

Clearly, beauty brands that have a physical in-store experience will benefit from higher levels of brand engagement. Of course, many consumers will want to buy beauty online, but it is in-store where the consumer wants to engage with beauty products and are open to experiencing new products.

Coming later this year: A major new and in-depth Premium Market Report research survey on beauty buyers’ attitudes and shopping habits.


  • Where consumers go online to find about beauty products
  • How and why consumers shop for beauty in retail vs online
  • The most popular social media sites consumers use to follow beauty brands
  • Recommendations on how beauty brands should engage with consumers in the digital environment

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