Want to know how people’s beauty routines are changing, what they’re looking for in products today, or how much they’re spending? We have all the answers in this deep-dive into the beauty and grooming sector, featuring data from 1,000 UK consumers.
45% of Brits are seeking brands using natural or clean ingredients
46% look at a brand’s stance on animal welfare
39% of male consumers buy makeup
£10-25 is the typical spend on beauty and grooming products per month
1-3 is the typical number of products Brits use daily
15 mins or less is the typical time Brits spend on beauty and grooming daily
58% of Brits interact with beauty & grooming brands on social media
Special offers are the #1 most interesting type of content
Trying a sample is the #1 most persuasive marketing tactic
85% do at-home beauty and grooming treatments
Purchasing behaviour & spend
Men are just as important as women when it comes to capturing the most engaged shoppers in the beauty and grooming category.
British men are increasingly shopping for makeup, our latest survey into beauty and grooming reveals. Only 61% of male consumers say they never buy makeup, meaning 39% do. In fact, men are not only buying makeup, they’re also buying it regularly. Nearly a quarter of them are shopping for makeup at least once a month.
We’ll look at broader beauty buying habits later on but, first, who are these male makeup aficionados and what kind of an opportunity do they represent for brands? Our survey of 1,000 UK consumers shows that it’s not the most obvious demographic; while 42% of Gen Z males (aged 18-25) do shop for makeup (and 23% with high regularity), it’s actually Millennial men who buy cosmetics most frequently.
Nearly half of men aged 26-40 say they shop for makeup at least once a month (47%), and 63% of them buy it at least occasionally. Men in the next generation (Gen X) are also more likely than Gen Z to shop for makeup (51% buy it and 32% do so regularly). It’s only the oldest demographic who are far less likely to purchase cosmetics; 82% of Boomers (aged 56-66) say they never buy them.
Brands hoping to target this burgeoning market of male makeup shoppers should consider making products less female focused; 10% of men say they’re highly attracted to products using the term ‘gender-neutral’ in their marketing.
Meet the HIBAGs
Men are also at the forefront of a group of consumers we’re calling HIBAGs (Highly Invested in Beauty and Grooming). These are people who shop in the overall beauty and grooming category (not just makeup) on a high frequency basis, spend more than the average consumer, use more products and spend longer on their daily routine.
This group, which represents around 11% of the overall sample, is 56% male and 44% female, and spends at least £75 per month on beauty and grooming products. But if we narrow it to the highest spenders (people spending in excess of £100 per month in the category), the subset sways 63% male. When we look at the age profile of HIBAGs, we see that it’s Gen Z who make up the biggest percentage (specifically those aged 21-55).
HIBAGs are looking for brands with strong purpose and values.
HIBAGs over-index for shopping weekly across every category, including makeup, haircare, skincare, fragrance and shaving. They also over-index for taking 45 minutes or longer to do their beauty and grooming regime, and this applies to both genders. In comparison, the typical British woman spends 30 minutes on her regime, while a man spends less than 15 minutes.
We see a similar story when we look at the amount of products HIBAGs use each day. The majority of British men use no more than three products as part of their daily routine, while women use four to six. HIBAGs, on the other hand, over-indexing for using more than six products daily.
What’s interesting about this group is that they’re much more open to trying new brands than other consumers, over-indexing for saying they frequently buy brands they’ve not used before. They’re also more likely to be engaging with beauty and grooming brands on social media and looking for brands with strong purpose and values.
Average Brit spends £10-25 per month on beauty products
Looking at the bigger picture, British consumers are most likely to say they spend just £10-25 per month on beauty/grooming products (32%), while the next largest percentage (27%) spend between £26-50 monthly.
People are most likely to shop for beauty and grooming products on a monthly basis, excluding fragrance, which is more likely to be bought every two months. The most frequently shopped-in category is haircare, 32% of people buy hair products weekly or fortnightly.
D2C beauty shoppers over-index for spending more money.
The supermarket is the number one channel for selling beauty and grooming products, favoured for all categories except fragrance, which people prefer to buy in a department store.
Ecommerce lags way behind buying in-store, but when Brits do shop for beauty and grooming products online, they’re (more or less) as likely to buy from a brand’s own website as they are to buy from Amazon. The category Brits are most likely to buy online is fragrance, with 12% shopping on a brand’s website and 12% buying on a marketplace.
One interesting fact is that those who do prefer to shop directly with brands online, over-index for spending more money, showing that D2C is still a channel worth pursuing.
British consumers would rather try beauty and grooming products themselves than see influencers using them.
Brands pay beauty influencers like Nikkie Tutorials and James Charles in the region of £20-25,000 for a single sponsored Instagram post. It’s a sizable investment, but is it really worth it?
According to our survey of 1,000 UK shoppers, the answer is a resounding ‘no’. Brits claim they are least interested in collaborations with influencers/celebrities when it comes to consuming content from beauty and grooming brands.
To put this into context, we asked respondents to rank seven different content types, and ‘collaborations with influencers/celebrities’ came last. What’s more, this preference is held across age groups (although younger consumers do show more interest in influencer content than older people).
Underlining the lack of interest, people believe that seeing an influencer talk about a product is the least persuasive way to get them to try it. Overall, Brits ranked influencers 7/7 in terms of persuasiveness, although for shoppers under 40, influencers place sixth, above seeing a product featured in a magazine.
It’s clear that influencers offer value in terms of raising awareness of beauty and grooming brands – they have millions of followers, after all – but our data shows this exposure doesn’t necessarily translate into consideration or conversion. So if influencer content is failing to resonate with consumers on a transactional level, what should beauty and grooming brands do instead?
Social is still central
One thing brands don’t need to worry about is a lack of engagement online. More than half of Brits (58%) say they interact with or follow beauty/grooming brands on social media – and this figure rises to 79% for people aged 40 or below.
In terms of the platforms that consumers favour for interacting with beauty and grooming brands, it depends on their age. Instagram is the platform of choice for Gen Z (aged 18-25) and Millennials (aged 26-40), but for everyone else, it’s Facebook.
We see pretty low engagement on Facebook for the youngest demographic, with only 26% using it to follow beauty and grooming brands. You’re more likely to find them consuming this content on YouTube and TikTok. And where YouTube used to reign supreme for tutorials, its advantage over its rival video platform has narrowed among this age group.
79% of people aged 18-40 interact with beauty & grooming brands on social media.
So what do Brits want to see in their feeds? Ranked first is ‘discounts and special offers’ showing that consumers are seeking out value for money above all else. Second to this is ‘info about new products’, which goes against conventional wisdom and flips the funnel on its head.
In fact, much of the trust-building top of the funnel type content ranks lower, with ‘details of environmental initiatives’ ranked 5/7 and ‘partnerships with charities and nonprofits’ ranked 6/7. Beauty and grooming advice and tutorials do remain popular, coming in at number three, but the wisdom here is that they should be product focused and don’t need celebrity names attached.
These preferences are broadly consistent across the demographics, meaning brands can’t rely on the assumption that younger people will be either more engaged on social issues or more enamoured with influencers. Interestingly, Boomers (aged 56-65) rank ‘details of environmental initiatives’ higher than all other age groups.
Invest in sampling
If you’ve saved yourself thousands of pounds on influencer marketing, where should you spend the money instead? According to our respondents, product samples are the most persuasive way to get them to buy a new product.
Sampling ranks even higher than receiving a recommendation from a friend (ranked 3rd), which is usually the most powerful form of marketing. As a result, brands should invest heavily here, making samples available in stores and via beauty sample subscription boxes like Birchbox, Glossybox, and Beauty Box (LookFantastic).
TV advertising is only the 4th most-persuasive form of marketing.
In a similar vein, special offers and promotions also play a big role in convincing people to try a product they’ve not used before (ranked 2nd). Combining offers with free samples could be a big double whammy.
These tactics are deemed to be more effective by consumers than other expensive forms of marketing like TV advertising (ranked 4th). Meanwhile, you might think that getting your product trending on social media would be amazing for sales, but British consumers seem to disagree; ‘social media hype’ is ranked 5/7 for persuasiveness.
Overall, beauty and grooming brands should focus on getting their products into people’s hands so they can see the results for themselves, rather than just read about them.
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Want to sell beauty and grooming products to Brits in 2022? You’d better clean up your act because there’s no room for nasties anymore.
With climate change becoming an increasingly urgent issue, many beauty and grooming brands have started flying the flag for sustainability. And while initiatives like using recycled packaging or renewable energy are to be applauded, they might not help brands to really boost sales.
Our survey of 1,000 UK consumers shows that people are far more likely to be looking out for brands promoting natural beauty rather than sustainable beauty. Just under half of Brits (45%) say they take a brand’s use of natural or clean ingredients into consideration when making purchasing decisions. By contrast, only 31% take a brand’s environmental credentials into account.
This preference is seen again when we look at the pulling power of different marketing terms. ‘Natural’ is the term British consumers are most attracted to, with 39% putting it in their top three. In second is another related term, ‘free of harmful chemicals’ (37%); ‘cruelty-free’ is third with 36%, and ‘clean’ comes in fourth place (33%).
The term ‘environmentally friendly’ is attractive to a slightly smaller percentage of people; only 31% select it in their top three. It is only the fifth most-attractive marketing term overall.
We also see a lack of interest in hearing about a brand’s environmental initiatives; respondents ranked eco updates as one of the least popular types of content they want to see (coming ahead of partnerships with charities and nonprofits, as well as collaborations with influencers and celebrities).
Sustainable beauty more important to older Brits
It’s worth pointing out that there is somewhat of a demographic split when it comes to the role a brand’s green credentials play in the purchase decision process. Perhaps surprisingly, people aged 40 and over are more likely to say they take sustainability into account than their younger counterparts (34% versus 28.5%).
They’re also more likely to be attracted to the term ‘environmentally friendly’ than people under 40, but not by a huge degree (32% versus 30%). Despite this increased interest in sustainable beauty, older shoppers are still considerably more motivated by a brand’s ‘naturalness’; 45% of people in this age group consider a brand’s use of clean/natural ingredients when they buy, and 42% find the term ‘natural ingredients’ appealing.
34% of people aged 40-65 take a brand’s commitment to the environment into consideration.
All age groups prioritise a brand’s stance on animal testing over the environment. This trend is most pronounced in Generation X (aged 41-55), with 50% rating a brand’s stance on animal testing as their top priority while under a third (32.5%) say they consider a brand’s environmental credentials.
Commitment to the environment also varies somewhat according to where you live. The most conscious consumers are found in London and Wales, where 36% take a brand’s eco credentials into consideration. By contrast, only 23% of those in the South West say the same.
Cruelty-free is in, vegan is out
Animal welfare remains a big deal to Brits shopping in the beauty and grooming category – they want assurances that products haven’t been tested on animals, but interestingly, what they don’t insist upon is a product being vegan.
‘Vegan’ is actually one of the least attractive marketing terms, ranking 11th out of 13 (only 8.5% are attracted to it). We’d need to investigate further to find out why. It could be because people simply assume beauty products have no animal products in them. Or maybe consumers are ok with animal-derived ingredients, as long as no cruelty has been inflicted as part of the manufacturing process.
8.5% are attracted to beauty and grooming products labelled ‘vegan’.
Also interesting is the low level of attraction towards the term ‘plant-based’. Despite the drive for natural ingredients, it’s only a magnet for 11.5% of shoppers. This underlines how important it is for brands to choose exactly the right wording when communicating what’s in their products, as well as what they stand for.
Post-pandemic, consumers have less interest in complex beauty and grooming regimes, and call for products to offer better value.
Simplification looks like it will be a key trend for beauty and grooming in 2022. It’s a trend that stems from the pandemic, which has had an interesting effect on our attitudes and behaviour.
On the one hand, being continually faced with ourselves during video calls has driven increased demand for plastic surgery and cosmetic treatments. But, on the other, going weeks without a visit to the hairdresser and spending our days in slouchy loungewear has also made us more relaxed about our appearance.
During the pandemic, lots of us gave up on makeup and hairstyling, or let our beards grow out, opting for a low-maintenance look instead. And it seems that Brits are keen to hang on to this new found freedom. Our survey of 1,000 UK consumers finds that the majority of women spend just 30-minutes on beauty and grooming each day, while most men spend less than 15 minutes. Only 2.5% of people spend more than an hour a day.
We also see this drive for simplicity in the number of products that people are using as part of their daily beauty and grooming routine. The majority of men use no more than three products, while women use between 4-6. Only 8% of Brits use 10 or more products daily.
So what does this mean for brands? With shoppers likely to be looking for hardworking multipurpose products, it might be time for brands to back down from pushing skincare routines that involve scores of different products. Perhaps brands could even benefit from scaling back ranges to focus on core, hero products?
DIY beauty is here to stay
Thanks to coronavirus restrictions, many of us had to take beauty and grooming into our own hands, leading to a surge in at-home treatments. And it would seem people were empowered when they realised they could colour their own hair or do their own nails – and save a lot of cash in the process – because our data shows that 85% of people carry out beauty and grooming treatments at home.
The most popular DIY treatment is a face mask or facial, undertaken by 45% of people. Meanwhile, 29% shape their own eyebrows, 28% do hair masks, and 28% are giving themselves a manicure or pedicure. Just over a quarter of Brits are cutting and/or colouring their hair at home.
85% of Brits do DIY beauty and grooming treatments.
In terms of male grooming, beard shaping is a big pastime, with 32.5% of men doing it themselves (although those engaging in facial pruning are more likely to be aged under 40). A further 39% of men say they get their hair cut at home.
Millennials (aged 26-40) are most likely to say they use a beauty gadget at home – though only fractionally ahead of those in Generation X (aged 41-55) – with facial rollers being most popular. Overall, Millennials show the most inclination towards DIY beauty, with only 7% saying they don’t do treatments at home.
Opportunities for innovation
While the main theme for 2022 is simplification, it doesn’t mean there isn’t room for innovation. According to our respondents, there are still a number of gaps in the market for beauty and grooming brands to fill.
Areas with potential for NPD include products for sensitive skin, for very pale skin tones and darker skin tones. British consumers are also looking for new solutions to perennial problems including eczema, acne and unwanted facial hair.
Consumers are calling for more affordable beauty & grooming products.
A specific idea shared by a respondent, which could be implemented reasonably easily, was offering a money back guarantee so that if a product does not agree with someone’s skin they can return it. It’s an initiative that has the potential to increase trust in a brand, and boost willingness to try a new product – especially for online sales.
Something else that came through in the open text responses was a call for more affordable products and better value. This suggests that simplifying product ranges, and providing high quality staples without unnecessary frills, should help beauty and grooming brands to prosper.
Attest Investigates: Clean Deodorants
Attest’s CEO and resident scientist Jeremy King investigates… Clean deodorants
Words by Jeremy King
I’ve found myself becoming increasingly curious about the ‘clean’ deodorant category in recent months. With awareness of products’ impact on the environment – and our bodies – growing, it seems more and more brands are offering clean sprays and roll-ons.
For those not in the know, ‘clean’ deodorant refers to products that are free of components that could potentially be harmful to your skin or overall health. Some great examples to learn about are: Dove, Secret Deodorant, Lavanila, NATIVE and Kopari.
Why do people buy clean deodorant, and which factors most compel people to choose one emerging product over another?
We’ve run a survey of US consumers to gather a clearer view of their thoughts and opinions about clean deodorant. There’s a summary of the results below, but if you want to have a nose around the full data then no sweat! You can find everything in our public insights dashboard.
Product effectiveness and ingredients are most important
We’ve found that ‘product effectiveness’ is the most important consideration for those purchasing clean deodorant, with 56.9% putting this in first or second place—no great surprise perhaps. However, in a very close second place is ‘ingredients’—55.8% of respondents said it was one of their top two concerns.
The fact that ‘ingredients’ ranks so high as a determining factor shows there’s clearly a high level of existing knowledge about harmful ingredients among clean deodorant buyers—people know what ingredients they do and don’t want. It’s key for brands to remember that there’s an important knowledge-building phase customers need to go through before they’ll buy.
Working our way down the list of purchase considerations we can see that ‘price’ came third. A massive 90.4% of respondents said that the price point of clean deodorant was either ‘very important’ or ‘important’ to them—they clearly aren’t prepared to pay over the odds for clean deodorant.
People aren’t prepared to pay over the odds for clean deodorants.
Something that ran counter to my expectations was ‘reviews/recommendations’ coming out bottom of the list (just 2.9% ranked this as their most important factor), considering we know how important word-of-mouth is to consumers across other sectors.
Perhaps this is down to the fact that deodorant is a highly personal product – maybe consumers are less likely to value the opinions of others and prefer to base their purchases on their own experiences. Either way, it does mean that brands who place high importance on customer advocacy might want to re-evaluate their strategy.
Men want scent, women want endurance
Respondents’ answers to the question on what criteria defines an effective deodorant also came as a surprise in this research. While I’m not amazed that men and women didn’t see eye-to-eye in terms of the most important factor – men selected ‘eliminates odor’ as their #1 while women chose ‘lasts all day’ – I certainly raised an eyebrow when I saw that men were more concerned than women about having a product that ‘smells good’ (61.6% versus 53.5%).
This challenges some stereotypes, and also underlines a key learning for brands selling products that target specific genders. Times change and so do attitudes – marketers should never be afraid to ask questions to validate (or disprove) a gut feeling. It might even open the door to enormous success, as our customer Bloom & Wild found out when they researched a hunch of theirs and delisted red roses for Valentine’s Day!
Aluminum is the ingredient consumers most want to avoid
The growing interest in clean deodorant shows that consumers are increasingly concerned about using products that contain chemicals that could harm their health. They also know what it is that they want – or rather what they don’t want – when it comes to certain ingredients. The most commonly cited ingredient that our respondents wanted to avoid was aluminum, while alcohol also ranked highly in respondents’ answers. It’s fascinating to see just how high consumer awareness is, across this range of harmful or disagreeable ingredients.
Looking at the packaging for many of the most commonly-purchased products in this category, the top 5 best-known brands all make very clear reference to their aluminum-free formula. There are evidently ingredients that Americans want to steer clear of, so brands would do well to listen to customer concerns in this area, especially with products that target women. Females actually ranked ingredients as being more important than product effectiveness (37.4% versus 28.1% for men), with this preference most pronounced among respondents from Gen Z.
Top 3 takeaways from the research
1) The most important factor when it comes to purchasing clean deodorants is product effectiveness, while reviews and recommendations are least important. This is something brands running customer advocacy and referral programs should definitely note.
2) There’s a slight gender divide when it comes to what makes an ‘effective’ deodorant. Men care more than women about using a product that smells nice, while women are most concerned that the deodorant should confidently last all day.
3) Aluminum is the ingredient buzzword to avoid. Respondents are emphatic about this being the one ingredient they don’t want to see in their clean deodorant.