TABS Analytics Blog

Part II of TABS Group's Beauty Consumer Insights Study

In the latest installment of its webinar series, TABS Group has released further insights from its 2014 Beauty Consumer Insights Study, focusing on consumers’ attitudes toward specific brands, stores and price points.


View the infographic: Cosmetics Buyers: Brands, Channels and Attitudes

Click here to register for the webinar on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 that will further explore this data.


Key Findings


The Usual Suspects: No Surprises in Brands with the Most Awareness


The study found that Mainstream brands such as Maybelline, CoverGirl, and Revlon have the most awareness of brands sold in mass outlets (Walmart, Target, etc.) while Estee Lauder, Clinique, and Chanel have the highest awareness of brands sold in specialty outlets (Ulta, Sephora, department stores).


To Know Them is To Love Them


Brands with high awareness are rated more favorably than lesser-known brands. This correlation between awareness and favorability actually extends across retail outlets: brands with high awareness in both mass stores and specialty stores have roughly the same favorability ratings (.85 and .86, respectively, on a scale of +2.00 to -2.00). There’s a larger favorability gap across outlets for brands with less awareness. More obscure brands (Niche brands) that are sold at mass stores—Black Opal, Milani and NYX, for example—have an average favorability rating of .43, significantly less than the .64 rating of lesser-known brands in specialty stores, like Smashbox and Benefit.


Availability Counts more than Awareness for Buyer Conversion


Even though the Mainstream brands in Mass and Specialty outlets have the same awareness and favorability levels, Penetration and Conversion was twice as high for Mass brands. For Niche brands, conversion between Mass and Specialty was equal even though awareness of Niche Specialty brands was 50 percent higher than Niche Mass brands.


Shoppers have many favorite brands, not just one


Though there are differences in awareness, favorability and conversion across brand profiles, brand loyalty is remarkably consistent across all groups (between 44 percent and 49 percent). Solid loyalty among less well known brands demonstrates that product performance, not brand imagery, matters.


The Hipster Effect: High Price Buyers Avoid Mainstream Mass Brands


While mainstream mass brands have higher awareness and favorability in general, high price buyers (who skew heavily towards Millennials)—shoppers who pay an average of over $20 for a cosmetics item—actually rate widely available brands less favorably and buy them significantly less often than buyers that pay low or average prices. Not surprisingly, we also see this trend in shoppers’ choice of store. While mass outlets account for 62 percent of total cosmetics buyers, they attract a disproportionate amount of low-price buyers (77 percent). Likewise, specialty stores attract a disproportionate number of high-price buyers (52 percent).


A Good Deal is a Good Idea


As we’ve seen in our other TABS Group studies, more deals means more sales! In fact, 54 percent of respondents said that “good deals” is the most important consideration when they buy cosmetics. And heavy deal buyers are actually more loyal than other buyers, with 53 percent stating loyalty to a specific brand (as opposed to 47 percent of all other buyers). Further, these heavy deal buyers have a 50 percent higher conversion-to-trial rate (27 percent) compared to all other buyers.


Pricing and Promotion Aside, Heavy Buyers really love their Cosmetics


While Heavy category buyers tend to be Heavy Deal buyers or High Price buyers, it is really their love of the category that distinguishes them the most from less engaged buyers. These buyers are almost three times more likely as other buyers to Strongly Agree that they like to “indulge themselves with expensive makeup” and “like to spend a lot of time shopping in the Cosmetics section.”


Heavy Buyers Spread the Love Around to All Brands


Heavy Buyers average 4.4 Brands bought regularly vs. just 2.0 for Medium Buyers, a +120% gain. Further, the average number of Niche Brands and Mainstream Specialty Brands bought by Heavy Buyers jumps by +350%.