The recession has caused many consumers to cut back on spending in a number of areas. But as a Nielsen study indicates, looking and feeling good remains among the top priorities of consumers around the globe. The study, released today, consisted of 27,000 participants from more than 55 countries.
On average, 90% of international consumers reported purchasing health and beauty products, including make-up, fragrances and personal care items, in the first quarter of 2010.
So how do consumers choose which brands and products to purchase?
Sixty-nine percent reported being influenced by price, while 44% admitted that it was the lure of a product’s promise. As expected, brand image and brand loyalty weigh heavily on how purchasing decisions are made; 65% of the respondents stated that they make selections based on the “influence of their preferred brands.”
The value of public relations remains evident, with 37% reporting influence by magazine editorials, but word-of-mouth remains a key marketing tool. Nearly 60% of respondents stated that they purchase these products based on personal recommendations from friends, family or otherwise.
The study also suggests that premium products are losing their appeal. Eighty-one percent of survey participants noted that mass market hair care items are a viable alternative to premium salon brands; 75% found mass market skin care products to be acceptable, while 72% agreed that mass market cosmetics were acceptable.
North American respondents were the most positive about mass market products serving as viable alternatives.
Nielsen reported an increase in purchasing habits of these products for nearly all Latin American countries in year-over-year sales. In the U.S., sales have been relatively flat, but no major reductions in health and beauty spending were reported. In Asia, consumer confidence appears to be growing and, as a result, a renewed interest in these products was highlighted in the study.
In summary: ‘In countries that have emerged from the recession with vigor, the sector is likely to thrive. Meanwhile, in those regions where the recovery is still shaky-or in doubt altogether-health and beauty product manufacturers and retailers need to know exactly what’s important to those consumers: value for money and high quality products that enable them to look good, despite life’s pressures.”