Marketing traps in the beauty industry that cause you to splurge
—and ways to curb your emotional spending.
The beauty industry has been undeniably the most, if not — one of the most saturated industries globally because of its increasing growth in demand for beauty products. According to Allied Market Research, the global cosmetics market size was valued at $380.2 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach $463.5 billion by 2027 to which they believe the increase in the purchase of beauty products was mainly bolstered by growth in consciousness about external beauty along with an individual’s internal intellect.
So, it’s no surprise that most female consumers make purchases for a “look” that they might find attractive. As more new brands are sprouting everywhere frequently, many are competing to get in front of their target customers and thus resulting in different marketing gimmicks that can cause consumers to succumb to emotional spending.
A survey conducted in 2018 revealed that 41% of millennials have made impulse purchases based on social media advertising just to feel better about their own lives! However, the biggest spenders globally in 2019 were Gen Z of which, 86% of them were spending on beauty products. I know, it can be difficult trying to keep up with a budget when you’re spending more money making a purchase that is just one checkout button away only to find out that the product was not up to expectations or suitable (which is a waste of course) only because you’ve been sold to a single beauty or ideal “look”.
However, all is not lost. There are still many ways to enjoy browsing social media, have your budget in place without succumbing to impulse purchases and yet still feel better about your looks and life. So, here are the common marketing tactics beauty brands use to gain your attention and of course your wallets and how to avoid them.
1. Overpriced products that are celebrity or influencer endorsed
The obvious and most common ones are of course getting brand endorsements from famous celebrities or influencers. It gives potential buyers the ideal vision to look just like them. Hence, it’s easy for beauty brands to sell a premium on their products because they’re not selling a product but they’re selling you an ideal vision. While it’s nice to consider what works for them, it’s also just as important to ask if it’s something that enhances your own beauty and it suits your being instead of imagining an ideal appearance.
Solution: Find dupes — not counterfeit products. What worked for me was to find products that have the same ingredients as the premium products. If you’re a big fan of Korean beauty products, Althea is a really good source of budget-friendly alternatives to premium products.
2. ‘Must-have’ launch hype or limited edition products
Most beauty brands and influencers create impressions of the next new beauty trend and ‘must haves’ to stay on-trend. In actual fact, it’s just part of the brand’s marketing campaign to get more consumers in line for the next product launch. Some brands also practice the scarcity marketing strategy to build up the fear of missing out on the latest trends from potential consumers thereby increasing the chances of making an impulse purchase.
Solution: Reassess the existing products you already have. Do you already have a similar eyeshadow color to the one you’re intending to buy? Or if it's a skincare product, do you already have a toner you’re currently using? If your answer is no, place it as a “mini-goal” toward something you’re saving up for instead of making that impulse purchase. Sold-out stocks are usually quickly replenished. It’s part of their marketing strategy after all.
Tip: The only time when it’s okay to make an impulsive purchase is when you have sufficient $$ in your “play” account.
3. Haul culture and overconsumption
I’d agree that watching beauty influences showing videos of their beauty hauls is entertaining to watch. But, it’s best to just leave it to the experts as part of providing content to grow their business. Purchasing beauty products is part of an expense of their business after all. But for people like us, this buying behavior can lead to a waste of money on products that are bought, used a few times, wait till expiry, and eventually disposed of.
Besides, the introduction of the buy now pay later option, gives most potential consumers the mentality that it’s “affordable” and to eventually give in to the need for instant gratification purchases.
Solution: Find content that has existing products you’re currently using. The whole idea here is to reuse any existing beauty products that might inspire you to have a different look. Searching for a specific brand name on Youtube (like I did) might help to give you a different outlook on applying a product you’ve been using all this while!
While the beauty industry has a high tendency to promote impulse purchases and instant gratification in the brand’s marketing, the same can be said for other industries as well. Think electronic gadgets. The most common ones are obviously mobile phones. Most would think of buying the latest gadgets probably just so they won’t get left out of a social circle. Or some might be enticed by “marketing” tactics that present an image of luxury with a sporty car or a bigger house. It’s not wrong to want to own one, but if spending more than your affordability is putting a big hole in your pocket and it’s damaging your finances in the long run then I think it’s worth asking if it’s all worth it. I hope this helps you to avoid making emotional spending and become a sensible consumer!
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