Almost half of all women shopping for skincare are researching products online before purchasing in-store, according to a new report.

According to the NPD’s ‘Women’s Facial Skincare Consumer Report’, American
women are increasingly turning to online research to better understand the ingredients in, and the brands behind, their facial skincare products.

NPD Group beauty industry analyst Larissa Jensen says nearly 50 percent of women surveyed by the company “prefer to research products online prior to buying them in-store, citing online reviews and ratings, as well as social media influencers, as their sources of information”.

“These engaged consumers are looking to become more educated about the ingredients in their skincare regimen, particularly in those more basic products such as cleansers, moisturisers and anti-aging serums,” she says.

“Consumers are using their spending power to ensure their voice is heard and supporting brands that commit to natural ingredients and transparency.”

According to the report, 46 percent of facial skincare users said they had purchased products free of sulphates, phthalates and/or gluten in the last 12 months – “a 6 point up-tick over the past two years” – and more than half said they look for skincare products made from organic ingredients.

In addition, the report found that “brands making a public commitment to ingredient transparency have become top-of-mind for consumers” with several “transparent brands” now ranking among the Top 25 in highest awareness-to-purchase conversions.

“Skincare continues to perform well among engaged female consumers, regardless of what generation they are in,” says Jensen.

“The number of consumers who are making purchase decisions primarily based on the price of a product is decreasing; as the significance of knowing exactly what they are putting on their skin becomes more important.”

The new report on the US skincare market follow’s the NPD’s report on the British market which found that “in an ever-increasing digital world, the high street remains a firm favourite with British shoppers, accounting for 80 percent of prestige beauty sales in 2018.

“Whilst online sales grew at a rate of 13 percent in 2018, shoppers continue to visit shops, boutiques and department stores in vast numbers to immerse themselves in the brand experience, allowing them to touch, feel and experiment with colours and textures.”

Jensen stressed that both reports demonstrate “the continued importance of high street outlets and department stores, as prestige beauty increasingly relies on a hands-on, consultant-led approach with demonstrations, sampling, gift with purchase, skincare advice and make-up lessons all part of the retail mix”.

“Despite the boom in beauty bloggers and video make-up tutorials, online only has only secured a 20 percent share of the beauty market to date.
“What the last year has shown, however, is that online sales in prestige skincare, fragrance and make-up are driving the business forward ‒ not necessarily taking away from the high street ‒ but adding to it.

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