Reality Check

Cosmetics Design Europe is a weekly email newsletter that I’m registered for.

If you’re an industry bod like myself its a useful snapshot about whats going on, what the raw materials suppliers are plugging, yada yada yada.

Its a lazy way of getting tid bits if you’re too busy to get fully informed


One of the links to the main site caught my eye, and made me also feel a bit disturbed as well.

Women Sacrifice Food Before Cosmetics Link Here

Women sacrifice food before cosmetics
By Guy Montague-Jones
Most recently beauty retail website asked 1,000 women in the UK about their shopping habits and found that the credit crisis may reveal itself more clearly in cupboards than bathrooms.

Beauty over food

Nearly one in three female respondents said they would prefer to eat less than reduce their spending on ‘essential’ beauty items.

The survey also indicated that three quarters of women also consider make-up and body treatments ‘everyday essentials’ as opposed to luxury items.

The results support the findings of a ShopSmart survey of female customers in the US carried out last month.

Supporting evidence

Polling 1,000 women by telephone the magazine concluded that female shoppers were more likely to opt for cheaper food essentials than give up their chosen cosmetic brands.

While 67 per cent would switch to less expensive brands for eggs and milk, only 30 per cent said they would be willing to turn to cheaper cosmetics.

Women are not only reluctant to reduce their spending on cosmetics but when their purses come under pressure they are more willing to scrimp and save on food, according to new surveys. 

Brand loyalty also seemed more pronounced in cosmetics than personal care where women were more likely to trade down. A total of 48 per cent said they would be willing to buy cheaper personal care items.

Now I’m not analysing the methodology, possible bias or claims here, I’ll leave that to someone else to do the digging, but I will ask the question.


I don’t understand it at all


4 responses to “Reality Check

  1. Soap, shampoo, conditioner (long hair), deodorant, toothpaste. Used to own a lipstick in my youth but soon saw the error of my ways…

  2. That is a curious finding. Perhaps there’s an element of public demonstration of financial fitness alongside private recognition of a lack of financial fitness? Maybe the Joneses won’t know whether your baked beans are Waitrose or Lidl, but they will be able to tell if your eye shadow is a cheaper brand than the one you wore last week. Or maybe there’s some weird deal about seeing food as a necessity, as fuel that must be purchased simply to provide calories, whereas cosmetics are a luxury and something to make you look good and feel confident?

    Maybe they used to buy organic, free-range chicken in order to feel all green and animal-friendly but now don’t give a shit about animal welfare?

    Maybe they feel there’s a bigger difference in quality between cheap and expensive make-up than there is between cheap and expensive food?

    I dunno what the answer is, but thanks for posting this anyway – tis interesting.

  3. valueaddedwater

    My thoughts from my skewed perspective. I’m an industry bod, and like most industry bods, especially in the technical parts, toiletries are an after thought. I’m talking bare minimum here of soap, toothpaste shampoo and an Antiperspirant.
    And thats it.
    Now my marketing buddies will say that a lot of women buy more than this, and can produce EPOS data to prove it, and can plan product launches around these percieved “Wants”. I’ll believe them, as I have no perception or understanding of this personally as I’m a bloke.
    Colour cosmetics, I can sort of understand the argument, as they are long lasting, and cost does have a bearing on quality, but Toiletries?
    Stuff like the personal wash category (Shower gel to you and me) is cut-throat and brutal. Very price led, with consumers going hell for leather for every offer and scheme. No brand loyalty here. Skincare? Well prehaps a bit different, but to be honest the price paid for this does not necessarily reflect the quality of the product. Leaving aside the Tesco £1.79 a pot cheapies, which are not the best quality, but are priced to make a point, the cheap brands perform as well for day to day use as the scary price brands. In fact some of the really expensive stuff is probably lower tech than some of the cheaper stuff. Its just promoted better, and in fancier packs.

    I hope my boss ain’t reading this!

  4. “In fact some of the really expensive stuff is probably lower tech than some of the cheaper stuff. Its just promoted better, and in fancier packs.”
    I’m pretty sure that in some industries all you need to do is put your container in a nicely designed cardboard box and you can stick £2 on the RRP.

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