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Markets & trends

Beauty retail: Bricks-and-mortar stores and online channels complement each-others

The rise of digital channels undoubtedly changes the scope of traditional retail. Yet far from being opposed, brick-and-mortar and online channels appears complementary during the purchasing experience of French beauty buyers. Internet is where consumers get information, while shops remain the first purchasing destination, according to a study by the French Federation of Selective Perfumery (FFPS) and market research firm IFOP.

The Internet is the main point of contact for information on beauty products, it is also the preferred tool of women (72%) and for those under 35 (78%). Photo : © Antonio Guillem / shutterstock.com

The Internet is the main point of contact for information on beauty products, it is also the preferred tool of women (72%) and for those under 35 (78%). Photo : © Antonio Guillem / shutterstock.com

The study, conducted on a representative sample of 1,000 individuals aged 18 and more, found that 57% of cosmetics buyers use the Internet to get more information about products. However, for 71% of them, brick-and-mortar stores remains the main purchasing destination.

With the Internet, many of the customers who enter the store have a detailed knowledge of the products and they are therefore looking for something else, such as reinsurance, product staging, advices on complementary products. Customizing the experience through the relations with shop assistants thus becomes essential in beauty stores,” commented William G Koeberlé, President of the FFPS and FEPD (European Federation of Perfume Retailers).

Many consumers (43%) use internet to compare and get upstream information on the products and their prices. However, customers massively go to physical stores, to see the products (58%) or test them (41%). In addition to advices, the symbolic status of beauty products thus pushes buyers to brick-and-mortar points of sale (to see, touch, smell ...).

However, the study also unveils interesting differences in consumer behaviour especially between generations. Indeed, while the Internet is the main point of contact for information on beauty products, it is also the preferred tool of women (72%) and for those under 35 (78%). On the contrary, men and those over 35 still use brick-and-mortar stores as the primary contact point with cosmetic products.

With no surprise, internet purchases are mostly driven by price (50%), promotions (44%) and the possibility to purchase at any time (39%).

Customers always have the final say. As far as beauty products are concerned, brick-and-mortar stores and online channels are complementary and developing an omnichannel business is a key factor of success,” concluded William G Koeberlé, President of the FFPS and FEPD (European Federation of Retail Perfumers).

V.G.

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