TABS Analytics Blog

How Retailers Can Maximize Cosmetics Sales This Holiday Season

The National Retail Federation (NRF) surprised the retail industry—and the media—earlier this week when they released their annual Thanksgiving Weekend Spending Survey and estimated an 11 percent decrease in sales from last year. While a number of analysts, including TABS Group’s CEO Kurt Jetta, have called attention to some flaws in the NRF data, the uncertainty about the holiday shopping season may have some retailers on edge. How can they maximize sales in the next three weeks?


Based on the results of TABS Group’s 2014 Beauty Consumer Insights Survey, which will be published next week, retailers would be wise to focus, among other categories, on driving sales through cosmetics. Historically, cosmetics are popular items throughout the holiday season, and, according to IBM, online sales of health and beauty products were up a whopping 57 percent from 2013 Black Friday sales.


How can retailers—from department stores to drug stores to specialty shops—maximize sales of cosmetics? Our survey results reveal a number of best practices that retailers can incorporate into their holiday marketing strategies, including:


  1. Aggressively push key holiday items: Cosmetic kits, nail polish, and lip make-up.


These three types of items see a significant lift in sales during the week before Christmas through the following week, according to our study. Cosmetic kits sales increase nearly three times more than average, while nail polish and lip make-up increase over 1.5 times more than average.


  1. Invest in Social Media.


Social media is an increasingly important factor for cosmetics buyers in deciding which product to buy. Relying on social media for product reviews, recommendations, and unbiased research, 30 percent of our survey respondents reported that social media is “very important” as they make their product choices. Developing a content strategy to reach socially-savvy consumers will likely yield a positive ROI, as these customers tend to spend more and patronize more outlets than their non-social counterparts.


  1. Leverage Cosmetics Blogs and YouTube.


Our survey shows that cosmetics blogs and YouTube are the most engaging mediums for heavy cosmetics shoppers to identify path-to-purchase. Cosmetics consumers turn to cosmetics blogs for creative ideas, application instructions, and recommendations from celebrities (or celebrity bloggers) that they admire and trust. Likewise, cosmetics consumers likely perceive YouTube as a more authentic representation of cosmetics’ actual quality and results (as opposed to a television commercial or print ad).


  1. Mind the Gender Gap of Last-Minute Holiday Shoppers.


The gender profile of the last-minute shopper shifts dramatically to men. Early in the holiday shopping season, the split is 2:1 Women/Men, but that split reverses in the four days prior to Christmas to 2:1 Men/Women. Given the gender split of these last minute shoppers, retailers should be dedicating more display space to products that would appeal to men—as gifts for their partners, family members, or for themselves.


Join TABS Group, in partnership with Drug Store News, on December 10th at 2pm EST for a webinar investigating current buying trends in the cosmetics industry. We’ll tell you which consumers are buying, how much they’re spending, and where they’re shopping. We’ll also compare the performance of department stores, specialty cosmetics/beauty stores, drug stores, and online sales. Register now for an engaging hour that will deliver actionable insights for your 2015 strategy.