Exclusive Consumer Research Results: The Negative Effect of Discounting on Consumer Behaviour


The results of our consumer research (in association with YouGov) are in and they confirm what we’ve all been thinking. More consumers than ever are waiting for discounts before they purchase beauty products.

The findings detailed in this year’s Premium Market Report, which launches today, show that the percentage of women who say they will only buy when there’s a discount has increased from around a fifth in 2013 to over a quarter in 2014.

While there’s no doubt that discounting helped stimulate growth in the beauty sector during the recession, it’s also clear that an over-reliance on it as a strategy has now backfired.

Not only are more women waiting for discounts before they buy but we have strong evidence that those brands that resisted discounts are now in a much stronger position than those that didn’t.

The Bad News

The research makes for difficult reading for the premium sector in particular with the percentage of women who say they have traded down to cheaper skincare products, almost doubling from 8% to 14%.

While some might say that this is symptomatic of the recession, there’s also evidence that the trend to trade down is not just because of pressures on household income.

The research goes onto highlight that the percentage of women who believe cheaper brands are just as effective as their more expensive counterparts has increased from 37% - 44%.

What Happens Now?

The Premium Sector needs to do more to differentiate itself from the mass market. Premium has always led the way when it comes to new technologies so it makes sense to put them at the heart of their campaigns.

However, consumers will no longer stand for pseudo science and unsupported claims. The benefits of new technologies need to be backed up by hard evidence and offer a discernable result.

What’s the Good News?

Meanwhile, it’s not all bad news. There’s some good news for the High Street. Despite fears that more and more consumers are migrating to the Internet for all their shopping needs, the percentage of women who say they prefer to go in-store to purchase their beauty products has increased from 35% to 39%.

The full research findings can be found in the Premium Market Report 2014, which launches today at www.imogenmatthews.co.uk/pmr2014.

Now in its 22nd year, the Premium Market Report helps senior decision makers from the beauty industry to follow the right trends, produce profitable products and validate their most important strategic decisions.

NotesThe Premium Market Report 2014 is published by Imogen Matthews Associates and includes data and, insights and analysis from:

YouGov SixthSense: exclusive consumer research into women’s buying behaviour www.sixthesense/yougov.com

mymarketmonitor: insight into advertising, editorial and social media


NPD: market data for the premium cosmetics industry