How do you decide which beauty products to buy? Perhaps you consult our beauty reviews hub , watch a vlog or Whatsapp a friend, but chances are you don’t depend on in-store counters quite as much as was the case in the past, and it’s fairly easy to tune out of traditional billboard style advertising too now that we have our eyes fixed firmly on our phones on the daily commute. The way we buy beauty has undergone a metamorphosis since our grandma’s day, with digital conversation encouraging us to mix and match more brands, both emerging and established, seek unbiased reviews on the hop and even allocate our beauty budget in a different way. Just how did such seismic changes in our shopping habits come about?
From counter to cyberspace
According to the Cosmetic & Perfumery Retailers Association (COPRA) online beauty sales surged by 38 per cent last year, while Mintel reported that online makeup sales in particular are going through the roof- prestige makeup sales increased by 45 per cent to total £25 million. Skincare wasn’t far behind- online sales were up 25 per cent to £98 million, while in-store sales stayed constant. The 24/7 shopping experience that e-commerce sites afford is clearly a big pull to putting your faith in cyberspace, but it’s not just convenience that’s drawing us to digital department stores.
Shopping for beauty online is a much more independent, freeing enterprise than staying within the confines of a physical beauty hall, and given that we’re increasingly swotting up on products online before we make a purchase anyway (more on that later), with 46% of us scouring the net for intel before we buy a health or beauty product according to 2017 retail report by pwc, it makes sense that said search converts to an online transaction. With product details and ingredients clearly laid out, often accompanied by seductive discounts and devoid of any looming sales associates pressuring you to buy, it’s understandable why whizzing a beauty product through an online basket is becoming the preferred shopping method. It’s not just our habits that are changing either; as most of us are aware our choices are being shaped by fresh faces, voices and agencies in beautyland, and less and less of them are the Hollywood starlet poster girls of old...
New beauty icons
The stratospheric rise of the beauty blogger and vlogger has played a vital role in curating the products we do (and don’t) buy. Like big sisters, best friends and discerning peers, billions of us consult a blog or vlog before making a purchase, perhaps asking burning questions in the comments section and engaging in discussion with fellow users before splashing the cash. Accessing the authentic view of a trusted reviewer at the touch of a button can make or break a buying decision, and seeing a product in action via Youtube or swatches helps to fill the gap for dabbling and daubing at the beauty counter. Plus, if there’s a product from a small or niche brand that’s a game changer, you can be sure that it’ll make its way onto your radar online, either by way of a hashtag, Youtube subscription or blog alert.
The expertise of in-store brand ambassadors isn’t lost either, except that online you have the likes of Pixiwoo and Lisa Eldridge to confer with, and even if they do have big name beauty contracts to uphold, you’ll still be partial to those hidden beauty gems and tip-offs that are hard to come by IRL. As well as makeup artists, hair stylists and skincare authorities sharing their wisdom and opinion on a daily, sometimes hourly basis, beauty buyers are also imparting their know-how, trends forecasts and favourites, creating multi-brand edits that distinguish the very best in beauty. Feelunique’s new Unique Boutique , a premium section of the Feelunique website, is a case in point, with industry experts predicting what’s soon to be cult, presenting what’s stood up to scrutiny and providing its audience with valuable exclusives and luxury finds. What’s more, it’s working, as Feelunique experts underline:
“There was a lot of buzz around the Urban Decay Naked Heat palette onsite pre-launch. Over 2000 customers registered their interest before it was even available, and the palette sold out in under a week once it has launched.”