Are Premium Beauty Brands Doing Enough to Encourage Repeat Purchase?


Loyalty is a term that you don’t hear much in beauty these days.

Today it’s all about the next product launch and inciting consumers to buy something new, rather than focusing on what’s worked well and continuing to do that.

The focus on impulse purchasing is all well and good, but could it be time beauty brands dropped the scattergun approach and went back to some good old fashioned brand building?

Turn the clock back 10 years and you find a premium beauty market that was quite different to the one we see today.

There were far fewer fragrance launches. The celebrity brand trend had yet to happen, there were more compact skincare lines and a trend for “hero” products which brought consumers to the counter time and again.

The recession changed all that.

Frequent product launches accelerated in direct proportion to a reduction in marketing and promotional spend. Brands pulled back from sampling {another example of a budget cut}, even though it’s been proven that consumers are far more likely to buy if they can try the product first. Instead, brands expected products to sell themselves, which is a big ask when charging premium prices.

There are examples of brands which have strong loyalty, such as Boots No 7 and Chanel. These are destination brands that have continued to invest and present a consistent approach, rather than launching left, right and centre.

Take Chanel, whose No 5 fragrance is a continual best-seller, particularly at Christmas. Whilst the rest of the market scrambles to sell the most value coffrets, Chanel have steadfastly refused to enter into such short-term tactics and held onto their customers. Other brands could learn much from Chanel’s approach.In 2013, the economic landscape is finally improving. It feels like the right time for premium beauty brands to turn their backs on the downturn, take a fresh approach and look at rebuilding lost relationships with their customers.

In our up and coming blog series, we will look at areas that need urgent attention to understand why they need to become areas of focus for our industry.

They include:

  • Consumer confidence: winning back trust

  • Over-choice: do you really need to launch another new product?

  • Creating distance between premium and masstige

  • Discounting: is it really relevant in a recovering economy?

Then in November we are launching a new report, 10 Years of Premium Beauty. In it we look at the major events of the last decade, the lessons that can be learned from them and what they mean for the future.

The report will look at loyalty in more detail including the tactics that have promoted it, those that have harmed it and how the new digital channels at a brand’s disposal can help to build loyalty to far greater heights than ever before.