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Need For Promotional Deals Declining Among Cosmetics Buyers | TABS Analytics

Online reviews, demo videos strongly influence heavy buyers’ cosmetics purchase decisions

Shelton, CTNovember 28, 2017 – Women who buy 10 or more types of cosmetics products annually (defined as heavy buyers) say online reviews are now more important than saving money when it comes to making purchasing decisions, according to TABS Analytics’ Fourth Annual Cosmetics Study. According to the study, 52 percent of heavy buyers are influenced by online reviews, but only 49 percent like to shop at cosmetics stores with good deals. Deal preference among heavy buyers dropped 11 percentage points from 60 percent in 2016 to 49 percent this year. But for light buyers (who annually buy 1-4 types of products) deal preference remains strong (42 percent) compared to online reviews (17 percent). For medium buyers (5-9 types purchased), deal preference (48 percent) also tops online reviews (25 percent).

“This year marks the first time we’ve seen such a significant drop in the number of people who prefer cosmetics stores with good deals,” said Dr. Kurt Jetta, TABS Analytics’ CEO and founder. “Information platforms, including online reviews, social media and video demonstrations, are becoming more important in a buyer’s decision hierarchy and that’s the big story for this category. There are no signs that this importance is abating. While half of the buyer base still believes deals are very important, mass market retailers will need to find other means to influence purchasing by the heaviest buyers.”

TABS Analytics’ Fourth Annual Cosmetics Study examines the types of color cosmetics products consumers are buying, where those products are purchased, and what social media channels are influencing beauty consumers. In October 2017, 1,000 geographically and demographically dispersed female consumers between the ages of 18 and 75 were surveyed. The study analyzed the importance of the various shopping channels, including department stores, specialty cosmetic and beauty stores, drug stores, grocery stores and ecommerce. The survey asked respondents about 20 products in five categories: eye makeup, face makeup, nail polish and treatments, lip makeup and cosmetic gift sets.

Additional key findings from the study include:

  • Social media platforms gained in importance. The TABS study found that 39 percent of buyers declare any social media as “very important” and all platforms in the survey (YouTube, Facebook, blogs, Pinterest, Twitter and Snapchat) saw a year-over-year gain in stated importance. On average, women declared 1.6 platforms as “very important,” up from 1.3 in 2016. TABS said that the jump among medium buyers from 27 to 39 percent is highly suggestive that social media is fast becoming a mainstream media platform for the category.
  • Young consumers and Hispanic women are still the heaviest buyers. The study showed that women between the ages of 18 and 24 and Hispanic women are heavy buyers of cosmetics. The other group that showed a high percentage of heavy buyers in the study is women whose incomes are between $75,000 and $99,000. All three of these demographics have grown in the last three years, TABS noted.
  • Regular purchasing of cosmetics increased. In 2016, women regularly purchased (three or more times per year) an average of 3.4 types of products. In 2017, that number jumped to 3.7 types. Regular purchasing is increasing even though the average number of overall types purchased fell from 6.9 to 6.6. Regular purchasing growth came as face and lip cosmetics, eye lash and artificial nail saw penetration gains.
  • EComm continues to drive significant growth in cosmetics. Online retailers saw a 1.3 percentage point increase (11%), driven mainly by significant increases from and Amazon sales grew as well, but not to the same degree as Walmart and Target. EComm’s growth was surpassed only by department stores (1.4 percentage point increase) and is performing well ahead of specialty beauty (0.4 percentage point increase) and mass market, which saw declining sales during the past year
  • Brick-and-mortar outlets where cosmetics are purchased are shifting. The study found that there was a meaningful shift away from mass market as the influence of emerging brands has had more of an impact. FDMCD (food, drug, mass, club, dollar) retailers saw a 2.3 percentage point drop in share, with drug and grocery experiencing 1.2 and .5 percentage point declines, respectively. Walmart and Target fell, but increases in their ecommerce business brought a net gain, the study showed. Department stores grew 1.4 percentage points, led exclusively by Macy’s and Kohl’s.

Throughout 2017, TABS Analytics conducted six studies across the consumer packaged goods industry including personal care, baby, vitamin, food and beverage, household products and color cosmetics. More information about previous TABS studies is available at


About TABS Analytics 

Operating since 1998, TABS Analytics, based in Shelton, Conn., is a technology-enabled analytics firm. Its mission is to simplify and improve the way analytics are conducted in the consumer products industry. TABS offers cloud-based software analytics and applications solutions, including TABS Insight® and TABS Total Insights™, for CPG manufacturers that integrate, harmonize, and analyze sales and marketing data. Additional services include TABS CatMan Advantage™, an outsourced category management solution, TABS WorldView™, a global business intelligence tool, and TABS Promo Insight™, a cloud-based software and consulting service that helps companies measure, plan and optimize trade spending. For more information, please call 203-446-8837, email robertbaldwin (at) or visit