BrandSpark’s Canadian Shopper Study quizzes consumers on what they buy and why. Here, key new stats on their behaviour in the beauty aisles
Each year, BrandSpark International, a Toronto-based market research and innovation insights firm, conducts its Canadian Shopper Study. More than 65,000 Canadian “household shoppers” (age 18+) took the 2015 survey, delivering a comprehensive snapshot of the way consumers across the country think and behave now.
The Most Trusted Brands
One of the first questions in the 2015 Canadian Shopper Study asks participants to name their most trusted brands in a wide range of categories. The results are used not only for this study, but also to determine the winners of BrandSpark’s annual Most Trusted Awards.
According to Philip Scrutton, research director at BrandSpark, mass brands tend to win in the beauty categories because they are the most widely used: “This does not mean that the quality of prestige brands is doubted,” he says. “It’s just that the majority of Canadian consumers feel there is value in and trust the top mass brands.”
These beauty brands were “most trusted by Canadians” in 2015:
Acne Treatment: Clearasil / Clean & Clear (tie)
Adult Sunscreen: Coppertone
Anti-Aging Facial Care: Dove
Bar Soap: Dove
Body Moisturizer: Aveeno
Body Wash: Dove
Facial Wipes & Facial Cleanser: Olay
Hair Colour: L’Oréal Paris
Hair Removal: Nair
Hairstyling: Pantene / TreSemmé / L’Oréal Paris (tie)
Hair Treatment: Pantene / L’Oréal Paris (tie)
Lip Balm: Blistex
Men's Body Spray: Axe
Men's Shampoo & Conditioner: Head & Shoulders
Men's Shaving: Gilette
Men's Skincare: Dove Men+ Care
Nail Polish: Sally Hansen
Women’s Facial Skincare: Olay
Women’s Shampoo & Conditioner: Pantene
Women's Shaving: Gilette Venus
What Earns Trust?
This year’s study revealed that supporting charitable causes, using flashy packaging or running clever ads isn’t enough when it comes to securing shoppers’ trust. According to the results, a brand’s best bet is to be responsible and honest with consumers.
Among a list of 16 factors ranked by participants, the top three likely to “greatly increase” their trust in a brand were: responding to product issues (62%), providing product information (55%), and being transparent about how products are made (52%).
Scrutton attributes this focus on transparency to an increase in consumer awareness when it comes to beauty products: “Consumers want to know about, and feel comfortable with, what goes into their products. They understand that sometimes there will be issues with products or ethical concerns, but they expect brands to stand behind their products and take responsibility for their actions.”
New Shopping Habits
With the ubiquity of the Internet, information about brands and their products is rarely more than a few clicks (or taps) away. At home, 66% of respondents reported using their computers to scrutinize products in every category—it’s the fourth most popular activity after e-mailing, surfing search engines, and online banking.
When it comes to beauty products, 20% of shoppers do research on the go, using smartphones to check out deals and prices at other retailers, and skimming customer reviews before making a purchase. Of course, consumers are also increasingly skipping stores: 63% of respondents said they do their shopping online (up 9% from last year), with clothing and books being the most popular scores. Even so, the majority of Canadians still prefer purchasing goods in-store, citing delivery charges and not being able to see products in person as deterrents from online shopping.
So who’s sending customers to stores in the first place? If they’re shopping for cosmetics, it’s most likely because a family doctor, dermatologist, friend or family member recommended it. Beauty advisors come in 6th place on the list of most influential recommendations, but they still trump blogger reviews, editorial coverage and celebrity endorsements.