In the last 5 years, I have developed a keen interest in understanding skincare, the chemistry and composition, ingredients, trends and most importantly consumer purchasing patterns. If there is one thing COVID-19 has taught me, is that skincare really is essential for those who can afford it.

With that little history lesson out the way, after finally sorting out my skincare cupboard I couldn’t help but notice, I had pretty much every skincare brand you could think of. Some complete ranges and some just selected products. Granted some were press drops but others were products I had purchased to cater to a specific need i.e. hydration, hyperpigmentation, pimples etc. And I wondered who else purchases skincare in this way?

After 4 hours of scrolling through influencer feeds on Instagram, watching product reviews on YouTube and a good ol fashion surveys, I was surprised to see that 89% of skincare consumers within the ages of 25 and 35 years old do not purchase complete ranges from one specific brand. Instead, they opt to purchase products they have tried and tested previously and a large portion of the time it comes from a completely different brand.

The skincare roulette

This got me thinking, what are the variables that consumers think about prior to making a purchase decision. A study conducted through 100 participants between the age group of 25-35 years old resulted in the following findings:

  • Skincare has become the backbone of the beauty industry. In 2019 alone, skincare brands in South Africa sold up to twice as many products as makeup units. Suggesting then that the foundation (mind the pun) to a good makeup look, is healthy skin.
  • 60% of this participating audience admitted to prioritising skincare over colour cosmetics. This is a massive shift in scales seeing as though 2016-2018 saw the boom of luxury colour cosmetics infiltrate the market. My conclusion on this variable is that with the trials of new colour cosmetics, the skin is compromised, thus requiring the need for skincare products to erase or address the effects caused by colour cosmetics.
  • 60% of the ladies stated their use of skincare was to affect the longevity of their make up wear and 49% said their skincare routine and current product selection attributed to their make up lasting longer.
  • 45% of the participants knew what parabens are and make an informed choice to not purchase products with the inclusion of it.
  • 70% of the participants choose products based on cruelty-free attributes.
  • Here is where it gets interesting for me. 89% of the participants stated that they do have favourites in terms of skincare brands but they have a higher likelihood of purchasing skincare products based on their skins need and based on the effectivity of the product in question.
  • 79% of the participants said that they can not get everything they need from one brand and that through influencer campaigns, they have expanded their shopping to newer brands who can cater to their various skincare needs.
  • 60% of the participants have stated that they have between 4-8 different skincare brands in their skincare cupboard.
  • 85% of the participants admitted to being open to trying new skincare products
  • 98% of the participants admitted to not being price sensitive if the product had proven effectivity and compatibility with their skin.

Okay so numbers aside, what does the above data and findings tell us? It tells us that no matter how deep routed a skincare brand may be in the eyes of the consumer, the rapid increase in new brands emerging means that the likes of the Loreals and Estee Lauders may always be relevant and own a large percentage of the market share, but they won’t always be effective in getting all consumers to purchase entire ranges. In fact, judging by my analysis I think that no skincare brand will.

So what strategies can skincare brands adopt for success? Find your niche and rock the hell out of it!