Exclusive IMA Research Reveals Beauty Industry Not Immune to Showrooming

This year’s Premium Market Report, out next month, reveals some eye-opening statistics about the impact of online on the beauty industry.

The exclusive research, which we ran in conjunction with YouGov, reveals the extent to which the growth of social media and online choices are influencing women’s decision to buy premium fragrance & beauty products. Here’s some choice cuts from the findings:

The practice of “showrooming”, whereby consumers check out products in the shops before buying online, is spreading to the premium beauty markets. We know this because: 

  • 24% of women aged 35-44 say they check out products and prices in the shops, then buy online {compared to the average 17%}

 Meanwhile, the internet is fast becoming important as a place to browse for fragrance & beauty information before buying, especially, amongst certain age groups. We discovered that: 

  • 23% of women aged 25-44 browse the internet for information before buying {compared to the average 19%}

 As consumers become more savvy and value-conscious, they are seeking out the best deals, whether they be in the shops or online. We found that: 

  • 25% of women aged 25-34 think that premium beauty & fragrance is cheaper online than in the shops {compared to the average 22%}

 These findings are significant as they point to a real change in women’s premium beauty shopping habits. Online and offline are becoming equally important, especially to women in the 25-44 age group, who appear to be playing each channel off against the other.

At his inaugural Beauty Symposium this week, Stirling Murray, founder of The Red Tree Consultancy, spoke about how we are still in virgin territory as far as the internet is concerned. He said: “We’ve only seen the tip of what the internet can do. Customers will buy in whatever way they want and retailers need to respond accordingly.”

Murray cited John Lewis, who no longer refer to multi-channel, but OMNI-channel. “They will deliver wherever the customer wants them to: at home, in the office, at their local Waitrose store. It is customer service in the extreme.”

Further consumer and retailer insights will be available in this year’s Premium Market Report, along with recommendations on how you should be responding to this fast evolving retail/e-tail environment.