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 2,000 US consumers.
52% of Americans are seeking brands using natural or clean ingredients
34% look at a brand’s stance on animal welfare
39% of male consumers buy makeup
$26-50 is the typical spend on beauty and grooming products per month
1-3 is the typical number of products Americans use daily
15 mins or less is the typical time Americans spend on beauty and grooming daily
54% of Americans 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
86% do at-home beauty and grooming treatments
Purchasing behavior & spend
Men are just as important as women when it comes to capturing the most engaged shoppers in the beauty and grooming category.
American 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 nationally representative survey of 2,000 US consumers shows that it’s not the most obvious Gen Z demographic; while 39% of males aged 18-25 do shop for makeup (and 21% with high regularity), it’s actually Millennial men who buy cosmetics most frequently.
A significant 35% of men aged 26-40 say they shop for makeup at least once a month, and nearly half of all Millennial men buy it at least occasionally. Men in the next generation (Gen X) are similar to Gen Z in their likelihood to shop for makeup (36% buy it and 21% do so regularly). But the oldest demographic are far less likely to purchase cosmetics; 78% 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; 23% of men who buy makeup (and 17% of men in general) 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 12% of the overall sample, is 55% male and 45% female, and spends at least $100 per month on beauty and grooming products. When we look at the age profile of HIBAGs, we see that it’s Millennials who make up the biggest percentage (specifically those aged 31-35).
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 American 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 American 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-index 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 American spends $26-50 per month on beauty products
Looking at the bigger picture, American consumers are most likely to say they spend between $26-50 per month on beauty/grooming products (27%), while the next largest percentage (23.5%) spend just $10-25 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 categories are haircare and shaving, 24% of people buy these products weekly or fortnightly.
D2C beauty shoppers over-index for spending more money.
We see that different channels are preferred for different categories, with people preferring to shop in a department store for makeup, skincare and fragrance, and the supermarket for haircare and shaving.
Ecommerce lags way behind buying in-store, but when Americans do shop for beauty and grooming products online, it’s most likely to be on a marketplace such as Amazon. This channel is at least twice as popular as buying from a brand’s own website across all categories.
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.
American 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 $26-33,000 for a single sponsored Instagram post. It’s a sizable investment, but is it really worth it?
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, Americans 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 Americans (54%) say they interact with or follow beauty/grooming brands on social media – and this figure rises to 67% for people aged 40 or below.
In terms of the platforms that consumers favor for interacting with beauty and grooming brands, it depends on their age. Instagram is the platform of choice for Gen Z (aged 18-25), but for everyone else, it’s Facebook.
We see pretty low engagement on Facebook for the youngest demographic, with only 24% 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, it’s interesting to note that the two video platforms are now on an almost equal footing among this age group.
67% of people aged 18-40 interact with beauty & grooming brands on social media.
So what do Americans 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 6/7 and ‘partnerships with charities and nonprofits’ ranked 5/7. 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 enamored with influencers.
Invest in sampling
If you’ve saved yourself thousands of dollars 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 2nd), 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, Beauty Box (by Macy’s), and Hello! (by Sephora).
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 3rd). 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 Americans 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 Americans 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 nationally representative survey of 2,000 US consumers shows that people are far more likely to be looking out for brands promoting clean beauty rather than sustainable beauty. More than half of Americans (52%) say they take a brand’s use of natural or clean ingredients into consideration when making purchasing decisions. By contrast, only 26% take a brand’s environmental credentials into account.
This preference is seen again when we look at the pulling power of different marketing terms. ‘Clean’ is the term American consumers are most attracted to, with 47% putting it in their top three. This is followed by other related terms, ‘natural ingredients’ (43%) and ‘free of harmful chemicals’ (41.5%).
The term ‘environmentally friendly’ is attractive to a significantly smaller percentage of people; only 27% select it in their top three. However, it is still the fourth most-attractive marketing term overall, sitting on a par with ‘cruelty-free’ (27%).
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 just before collaborations with influencers and celebrities).
Sustainable beauty more important to younger Americans
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. People aged 40 and below are more likely to say they take sustainability into account than their older counterparts (31% versus 21%).
They’re also more likely to be attracted to the term ‘environmentally friendly’ than people over 40, but not by a huge degree (29% versus 25%). Despite this increased interest in sustainable beauty, younger shoppers are still considerably more motivated by a brand’s ‘cleaness’; 55% of people in this age group consider a brand’s use of clean/natural ingredients when they buy, and 48% find the term ‘clean’ appealing.
31% of people aged 18-40 take a brand’s commitment to the environment into consideration.
Younger people also prioritize a brand’s stance on animal testing over the environment, although not massively so; 34.5% say they consider it. On the other hand, there’s quite a large disparity between concern for animals and concern for the environment among older people. For example, 32% of Boomers consider animal welfare, while only 18% worry about sustainability.
Commitment to the environment also varies somewhat according to where you live. The most conscious consumers are found in the west of the country, where 31% take a brand’s eco credentials into consideration. By contrast, only 21% of those in the Midwest say the same.
Cruelty-free is in, vegan is out
Animal welfare remains a big deal to Americans 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 the least attractive marketing term out of 13 (only 7% 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 animal suffers as part of the manufacturing process.
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 13% 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.
36% of Black consumers are attracted to the term ‘Black-owned brand’.
The impact of buzzwords varies from demographic to demographic. For example, while the term ‘Black-owned brand’ strongly appeals to just 9.5% of shoppers in general, among Black consumers, it has pulling power for 36% of people. This means it’s really worth beauty and grooming brands drilling down into the different segments of their target audience to see what matters to them most.
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 behavior.
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 hair salon 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 Americans are keen to hang on to this new found freedom. Our nationally representative survey of 2,000 US consumers finds that the majority of women spend just 30-minutes on beauty and grooming each day, while men spend less than 15 minutes. Only 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 8.5% of Ameircans 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 realized they could color 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 39% of people. Meanwhile, around a third of Americans are cutting and/or coloring their hair at home, 31% are giving themselves a manicure or pedicure, and 25% shape their own eyebrows.
85% of Americans do DIY beauty and grooming treatments.
In terms of male grooming, beard shaping is a big pastime, with 45% of men doing it themselves (although those engaging in facial pruning are more likely to be aged under 40). A further 45% 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, with facial rollers being most popular. Overall, this age group shows the most inclination towards DIY beauty, with only 9% 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 makeup for women aged 50+, products for people with sensitive skin, dry skin and allergies, as well as a bigger range for Black and Asian skin and hair. Americans are also looking for new solutions to perennial problems including blackheads, under eye circles and thinning 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.