One in five women turning to the Internet for their beauty product purchases

21% of women buy health and beauty products online - is this an opportunity or a threat?

I’ve been researching the way women shop for beauty products for a new report called The Beauty Customer Journey, which has just been published by YouGov SixthSense. And the findings suggest that premium beauty brands are not doing enough to engage with consumers, especially online.

At first glance, the numbers indicate that investment online may not be crucial. According to the research, only a fraction of women shop online {21%} compared to 89% who prefer to buy in-store. Note the use of the word “shop”. Plenty of women use the internet to check on products and prices before heading off to the shops where they can sniff, test, compare colours, textures and fragrances and ask a real person for help and advice.Another surprise is how little influence social media has on beauty decision-making. Only 5% of women state that a brand’s Facebook page influences their choice when thinking about purchasing a new beauty product.

So does this mean it’s not worth having an online strategy because most women prefer to handle the physical product before buying?

Absolutely not!There are three very good reasons why some women choose to buy online:

  • Half of online beauty shoppers do so because it’s cheaper than retail

  • 36% find online shopping “less hassle”

  • 17% shop online to avoid being hassled by in-store sales staff

There’s every reason to believe that shopping for beauty online will be a big trend.

In the latest Premium Market Report 2011/12, we’ve tracked current data on consumer online sales. The phenomenal growth in online sales suggests it won’t be long before we reach a tipping point.

But are premium brands ready?

I’m not so sure. From what I’ve seen, only a small minority are using the internet and social media to their fullest potential.What is clear is that those that work out how to do it will take the lead.

Alert! in-cosmetics Barcelona

Next week, I’ll be reporting from the annual in-cosmetics show, covering the Trends Presentation programme. Social media and e-commerce will be hotly discussed topics. If you can’t get along to Barcelona, look out for some trend insights on my blog after the show.