The secrets of skincare: Brand switching and other consumer insights

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Posted Sep 26, 2023
Jessica Glace

Is brand loyalty only skin deep? We were curious and eager to uncover deeper understandings into consumer behavior and preferences in the skincare, body care, and personal grooming categories. In order to do that, we launched a 9-minute online survey to 1,000 Americans looking for insights into brand loyalty and switching behavior in the skincare, beauty, and grooming categories. We’ve come to some conclusions! In this article, we’ll look at the driving factors behind purchasing decisions, brand loyalty, and the potential for switching to new products. Let's dive into the findings!

Key takeaways

Let’s go ahead and go over some of our three biggest takeaways from this study, so we can dig deeper into what these findings mean for skincare brands and consumers. 

  1. The skincare landscape is more diverse than ever, with consumers incorporating an array of products into their routines. 
  2. While brand loyalty is strong in the skincare market, 40% of consumers will opt for another brand when their preferred brand is unavailable at their usual store, underscoring the pivotal role of brand availability.
  3. The landscape appears poised for change, with over 60% of shoppers indicating they are at least somewhat likely to switch brands next year. This anticipated shift is primarily motivated by price, variety, personal needs, and preferences.

Moving forward, we’ll take a closer look at what is driving these consumer trends and behaviors by taking a more in-depth look at brand loyalty and all of its contributing factors in the world of skincare. 

Daily rituals: Skincare, body care, and personal grooming

Skincare, body care, and personal grooming products have become staples in people's daily routines. An impressive 78.6% of participants use skincare products daily, highlighting skincare's integral role in everyday life. Body care products are equally popular, with 83.4% of respondents incorporating them into their daily regimen. While most (42.4%) use personal grooming products several times a week, 34.2% use them daily.

Regarding skincare, certain products stand out as favorites, with the majority of users using them weekly: moisturizers (86.4%), cleansers (74.2%), and lip balms (59.2%). In addition to these favorites, various other skincare products, such as sunscreen (49.3%), anti-aging products (42.6%), and eye creams (37.9%), are part of the weekly routine.

Most used skincare, body care, and personal grooming products and purchasing factors

Just like skincare, body care is an integral part of daily routines and users rely on the weekly use of specific body care products to look and feel their best, including deodorants/antiperspirants (86.9%), body lotions (81.8%), and body washes (79.0%). In addition to these top three, other body care products that enjoy weekly usage include hand creams (55.4%), body sprays/mists (38.1%), and body sunscreens (35.6%).

When it comes to personal grooming, users’ favorite products help them look and feel their best, most notably toothpaste (95.1%), razors (79.0%), dental Floss (75.2%), and mouthwashes (74.5%).

In addition to these top four, personal grooming routines may include electric toothbrushes (56.6%), shaving creams/gels (50.3%), and hair trimmers/clippers (31.0%).

Key purchase factors

What motivates consumers to choose one skincare, body care, or personal grooming product over another? Our survey uncovered the following key factors:

  • Price/affordability: A whopping 61.9% of respondents prioritize price when making purchasing decisions, emphasizing the importance of cost-effective products.
  • Quality of Ingredients: Nearly half of the participants (49.9%) consider the quality of ingredients, highlighting a growing preference for high-quality formulations.
  • Effectiveness: The effectiveness of a product plays a crucial role for 45.6% of consumers, indicating that they want products that deliver results.

Surprisingly, brand reputation (25.9%) ranked lower on the list of factors influencing purchase decisions, suggesting that consumers are more focused on product attributes than the name behind them.

Brand loyalty vs. exploration

Are consumers loyal to specific brands, or do they like to explore new options? Our study revealed a balance between loyalty and openness to trying new products:

  • Loyal shoppers: Across all three categories—skincare, body care, and personal grooming—the majority of respondents (56.2%) usually purchase the same brand(s), showcasing brand loyalty.
  • Open to exploration: Interestingly, over a quarter of shoppers (25.5% for skincare, 29.8% for body care, and 27.8% for personal grooming) are open to trying new brands, indicating room for brands to expand their reach.

While many consumers exhibit loyalty to particular brands in the body care, personal grooming, and skincare categories, they also showcase a degree of flexibility. In cases where their preferred brand is unavailable at their usual store, approximately half of shoppers are willing to opt for an alternative body care (49.5%) or personal grooming (49.4%) product that is readily available. Alternatively, they may embark on a quest to find their favored body care (33.7%) or personal grooming (33.2%) item at another location.

This adaptable shopping approach extends to the skincare category as well. If shoppers can't find their preferred skincare brand at their usual store, 40.0% will proactively search for it elsewhere, demonstrating their brand commitment. On the other hand, 39.7% are open to exploring alternative brands available in-store when their preferred one is temporarily out of stock.

Past year brand switching behavior

In the past year, brand switching within the skincare, body care, and personal grooming categories was relatively common. Here are the specifics:

  • Skincare: 30.8% of respondents switched skincare brands in the past year.
  • Body Care: 29.2% of respondents switched body care brands in the past year.
  • Personal Grooming: 19.5% of respondents switched personal grooming brands in the past year.

As we delve deeper into the reasons behind these brand switches, the primary motivator appears to be the “price or affordability of the brand.” In the skincare category, 45.5% of switches were driven by this factor, followed closely by “desire for variety or experimentation”(39.3%). Other factors contributing to brand switching included changes in needs (30.2%), new product innovations (27.6%), and personal preferences (27.3%). Economic conditions, changes in personal finances, ineffectiveness, allergic reactions, and negative experiences with a brand also played roles in these switches.

Drivers of switching behavior

Consumer willingness to switch brands in the future depends on several factors. Price and affordability are the primary drivers of brand switching, with a significant percentage of respondents indicating they would switch for a lower-priced option. A desire for variety and experimentation and changing personal needs and preferences also influence brand switching behavior, reflecting the consumer's willingness to explore new products. Lastly, new product innovations and recommendations from friends or family can sway consumers towards trying a different brand.

Future brand switching behavior

Looking ahead to the coming year, it's evident that brand switching remains a possibility for a significant portion of consumers in these categories:

  • Body care: 67.7% of respondents expressed at least some likelihood of switching brands in the next year.
  • Personal grooming: 65.6% of respondents expressed at least some likelihood of switching brands in the next year.
  • Skincare: 61.2% of respondents expressed at least some likelihood of switching brands in the next year.

The factors that are anticipated to influence these future brand switches align closely with the reasons consumers switched brands in the past year. Foremost among these factors is the 'price or affordability of the brand'. In skincare, 49.2% of respondents cited this as a potential motivator for switching, while in body care and personal grooming, this factor was also prominent at 43.6% and 46.2%, respectively. 

“Desire for variety or experimentation,” “changes in needs,” and “personal preferences” were identified as other key drivers for potential brand switching in the near future. Additionally, new product innovations, ineffectiveness, and recommendations from others emerged as lesser motivating factors.

Skincare brand switching and price sensitivity infographic

Top brands and consumer perceptions

In the highly competitive skincare, body care, and personal grooming landscape, several brands have emerged as favorites:

  • Dove: Leading the pack with an impressive 86.0% awareness, Dove enjoys a strong reputation, with 92.8% of users viewing it positively.
  • Olay: Olay commands a significant presence, with 81.9% awareness and 95.8% positive perceptions among users.
  • Neutrogena: Neutrogena also stands out with 81.7% awareness and a favorable perception from 94.0% of users.
  • CeraVe: CeraVe (79.3% awareness) and Aveeno (85.8% awareness) round out the list of top-performing brands.

These brands have not only captured consumer awareness but also built strong positive perceptions, making them preferred choices for skincare, body care, and personal grooming needs.

Unveiling the top beauty and personal care brands

The allure of certain brands in the beauty and personal care sphere isn't merely a matter of chance; it's rooted in the attributes and qualities that consumers hold dear. Let's delve into why some brands reign supreme in the minds of skincare, body care, and personal grooming shoppers.

Skincare: Olay, Dove, CeraVe, Neutrogena, and Aveeno

In the realm of skincare, Olay stands tall as the most frequently purchased brand, capturing the loyalty of 14.6% of consumers who purchase this brand most often. It's closely trailed by Dove, CeraVe, Neutrogena, and Aveeno, all of whom have carved out substantial market shares. But what is it about these brands that make them lasting favorites?

First and foremost, it's the quality of ingredients that draws consumers in. A resounding 38% of skincare users pinpoint this as their primary reason for choosing these brands. Effectiveness in addressing specific skincare concerns or needs closely follows at 36%, highlighting the trust consumers place in these brands to deliver results. Their positive reputation in the eyes of consumers is another key factor, with 35.7% citing past positive experiences and purchases as a driving force behind their brand loyalty. Additionally, affordability plays a significant role for 33.4% of consumers.

Body care: Dove, Olay, Aveeno, CeraVe, and Neutrogena

When it comes to body care, Dove emerges as the clear frontrunner, with 17.4% of consumers purchasing it most often. Olay, Aveeno, CeraVe, and Neutrogena follow suit. These brands have secured their positions for several compelling reasons.

Price and affordability take center stage in the body care arena, with 34% of buyers emphasizing this aspect as their primary motivation. Consumers also attribute their loyalty to these brands to their history of positive experiences, echoing the significance of past purchases at 33.1%. Their ability to effectively address specific body care concerns is another key driver, with 32.5% finding these brands to be reliable solutions. Quality ingredients also play a significant role, with 32.5% of consumers appreciating this aspect. Brand reputation remains a pivotal factor, with 22.7% of buyers considering it as part of their purchase decision.

Personal grooming: Dove, Olay, Walmart, Aveeno, and Amazon

In the arena of personal grooming, Dove takes the crown once more, garnering the loyalty of 11.2% of consumers. Olay, Walmart, Aveeno, and Amazon round out the top five. 

Similar to the prior two categories, price and affordability are paramount in the personal grooming category, with 36.7% of buyers prioritizing this factor. A history of positive experiences and past purchases closely follows, at 31%, reflecting the trust these brands have cultivated over time. Quality ingredients and their ability to effectively meet specific grooming needs are also essential, with 29.4% and 28.6% of consumers, respectively, considering these aspects. Brand reputation is another key influence for 21.4% of buyers.

In conclusion, the dominance of these brands stems from a well-balanced blend of quality, effectiveness, affordability, and past experiences. Understanding the profound connection consumers have with these brands sheds light on the dynamics of the beauty and personal care market.

Price tolerance and cost tradeoffs

Despite their brand preferences, consumers have their limits regarding price tolerance for their preferred brands. On average, consumers are willing to accept a price increase of up to $6.95 before considering switching to an alternative brand and premium brands offer a wider range of tolerance than less expensive brands. 

Furthermore, price plays a pivotal role in shaping consumers' brand loyalty. Our survey found that a lower overall price is the top influencer driving respondents to switch brands. Whether it's a beloved skincare moisturizer, a trusted body lotion, or an essential personal grooming product, the prospect of saving money captures the attention of shoppers. A whopping 47.3% of skincare users, 47.6% of body care users, and 45.4% of personal grooming users expressed their willingness to embrace an alternative brand if it offered a more budget-friendly option.

Each product category has its own nuances when it comes to brand switching. Skincare shoppers, for example, are most likely to trade off for a lower price when purchasing moisturizers, cleansers, lip balms, and sunscreens. Body care shoppers find cost savings appealing when buying body washes, body lotions, and deodorants. In the personal grooming arena, razors, toothpaste, and dental floss emerge as the top candidates for brand switching based on price considerations.

Discounts, reviews, and more

While price undoubtedly takes the spotlight, other factors also influence brand switching. Discounts or promotions, often closely linked to lower prices, are significant motivators, with 44.2% of skincare, 40.6% of body care, and 38.9% of personal grooming shoppers indicating a willingness to make the switch when these offers are on the table.

Positive reviews from other customers hold sway for many consumers, with 38.2% of skincare shoppers, 33.7% of body care shoppers, and 31.7% of personal grooming shoppers ready to switch for this reason. Recommendations from friends or family are also valuable, motivating 31.8% of skincare brand switches, 31.1% of body care brand switches, and 30.9% of personal grooming brand switches.

Consumers value product longevity and durability, innovative features, and the convenience of purchasing when making brand choices. While these factors may not surpass price considerations, they play significant roles in shaping consumers' decisions. 

Collectively, all of these factors shape the choices consumers make when navigating the landscape of beauty and personal care products. 

The world of skincare, body care, and personal grooming is vibrant and dynamic. While consumers demonstrate brand loyalty, they are open to exploring new options, driven by factors like price, variety, and changing preferences. Brand reputation is important but not the sole determinant of purchasing decisions. As brands continue to innovate and provide cost-effective, high-quality products, they will capture the hearts and loyalty of consumers.

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