Changing Face of Prestige Beauty

New reports get under-the-skin of today’s affluent beauty customer

Marketing and selling prestige beauty products used to be a straight-forward business.  You recruited a super-model or celebrity to be the ‘face’ of the brand, put a magic formula in a pretty bottle, and sold it through department stores, with a little sampling and gift with purchase thrown in.  But it’s not so straight forward anymore.

It all adds up to disruption, pure and simple. Disruption in the brands affluents are choosing. Disruption in the places affluents are shopping. Disruption in the target market for beauty.

Today’s affluent consumer, with the means to pay premium prices for beauty, is just as likely to turn to the mass-brands found on the shelves of the super market or drug store as to the prestige brands in the department store.  Or she shops online through Amazon or selects from the growing range of beauty offerings from the television shopping channels which are able to capture her attention and dollars through top quality and deeply engaging presentations from product creators.  When she wants to try it before she buys it, the specialty retailers devoted to beauty products are just as likely to get her business, as the department store counters.

And the best potential beauty customers might not be she at all, but he, who might not mind shopping for a fragrance gift for his wife or girlfriend in the department store, but doesn’t feel comfortable shopping for his own skin care regime at the same counter.

It all adds up to disruption, pure and simple.  Disruption in the brands affluents are choosing.  Disruption in the places affluents are shopping.  Disruption in the target market for beauty.

Unity Marketing has studied the affluent beauty customer and put together a package of reports designed to help beauty brands and retailers get under-the-skin of the current affluent consumer market for beauty.  These Snapshot Reports, based upon Unity’s Affluent Consumer Tracking Study (ACTS) surveys, provide data, insight and understanding of who the best beauty customers are, what brands they are buying, where they are shopping and what motivates their purchases.

Here is what these research-based studies reveal:

  • Luxury beauty is a state of mind, not a price point —  Just because the customer is affluent and has plenty of money to spend, she doesn’t have to buy luxury beauty brands to get the luxurious beauty experience she seeks.  The top four mass-market brands – Olay, L’Oreal Paris, Cover Girl, Maybelline – capture more affluent purchasers than the top prestige brand, Clinique.  And further, the mass-brands leave all the rest of the prestige brands in the dust when it comes to purchases by affluent women, including the ultra-affluents ($250K+) with the most money to spend.
  • Demographics of the target market for beauty is shifting — Yes, affluent women (top 20% based on income) remain the largest target market for beauty brands, both mass and prestige, but ultra-affluents are shopping more like the lower-income HENRYs (high-earners-not-rich-yet mass affluent with incomes $100k-$249.9k) today than seven years ago.  Specifically, she is much more active buying mass brands, less active buying prestige and spending more modestly.  Further, while affluent women make up the largest customer base, the much smaller segment of affluent men active in the beauty category actually spend more than women on their purchases.
  • Department stores are losing their monopoly on the highest-spending customers — While everyone knows that department stores are getting hammered by the rapidly expanding channels for beauty brands, but other data doesn’t show by how much and what it specifically means to brands.  Unity Marketing’s research takes a cross section of affluent beauty customers and measures specifically how much is spent in each channel, including trends over the past seven years.  For example, in 2014 in a category that is basically flat in terms of affluent consumer spending, department stores lost some 3% share of affluent spend, while internet and direct-to-customer channels grew by nearly 25% from 2013.  The internet also took share from specialty beauty retailers as well, though about one-third of specialty beauty retail shoppers used the online websites of those stores for their last purchase and when they did, they spent nearly twice as much as when they shopped in the beauty retailers’ store.

About Unity Marketing’s Beauty Research

Unity Marketing’s  ACTS survey provides two separate looks at the affluent beauty customer, one focused on the products purchased and the other focused on affluents who frequent specialty beauty stores, such as Sephora, Ulta, Bluemercury, Art of Shaving and others.  These reports are available separately or together to give marketers and retailers a comprehensive view of the affluent beauty customer.

Click here to order your copy today. 

Unity Marketing is expert at giving marketers access and understanding of the HENRY customer that is their best and brightest prospects today and tomorrow.  We lead with research to provide both qualitative and quantitative insights into the affluent consumer market for beauty.   Call me at 717.336.1600 or email to learn more about the kind of research-focused insights we can provide to give you the competitive edge in the extremely competitive beauty market.    Learn more about our custom research services by clicking here.