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Changing Consumer Behavior Forces Shift in Global Beauty Retail Channels

Posted: December 16, 2009

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“Savvy brands are employing a mix of complementary channels—including online sales, catalogs and social networking—to maximize their reach and target consumers in the format that’s most comfortable for them,” explains Karen Doskow, industry manager for consumer products research at Kline.

Through novel approaches—such as YouTube videos that show how to apply products, interactive try-before-you-buy apps for the PC and iPhone, and even sampling programs such as New Beauty’s members-only TestTube and vending-machine-like mall kiosks—brand marketers hope to diversify their customer base by going direct to the consumer.

In China, double-digit growth is led by expansion in the number of doors across all channels, including department stores Parkson and Wangfujing, mass merchandisers Carrefour and Walmart, and specialty stores Sephora and 1000 Colors. Meanwhile, India’s independent, owner-operated kiranas—unlike any other outlet in the world—remain the mainstay of the personal care market with 78% market share and 9% growth in the past five years. However, despite the unique format of kiranas, faced with impending competition from homogenizing retailers Walmart and Carrefour, many kiranas have started to adopt Western retail concepts.

Around the world, chain drug stores have dramatically increased floor and shelf space for beauty products and introduced a more posh shopping environment that mimics the feel and service levels of specialty or department stores, but with the convenience of drug store, to lure customers. This has helped spur growth of 5.4% through the channel, still ahead of the market’s overall 4.7%growth.