With numerous cosmetic houses competing against each other in a $40 to $50 billion industry, many of them spend just as much, if not more on advertising and promotion as they do on R&D. The average consumer looks more likely to choose from branding and advertising efforts, than actual scientific evidence of what ingredients are in each product. John Stanton, Marketing Professor at Saint Josephs University, Philadelphia told media insiders that, "Most of us don't have the technical skills to look at something and identify the specific ingredients".
According to TNS Media, the cosmetics industry spent an estimated $2.2 billion on advertising in 2005, a figure that shows many manufacturers rely heavily on promotion and portraying the 'right' brand. There has also been a huge drive recently into online sales and marketing, with beauty giants such as MAC and Clinique recently launching online sites as a convenient alternative to buying products without the hassle of going in store.
MAC launched its new online store in Australia this week, and Clinique is marketing free delivery and gift-wrap promotions on its online store, for the Christmas shopper.
Both companies have targeted the online shopping craze that is emerging, with Jupiter Research stating that consumers will spend a massive $274 million in online purchases this holiday season, a $264 million increase from the comparable season in 2005, which only saw sales reach the $10 million mark.
However, despite large advertising campaigns there are claims that larger cosmetic companies who can afford the lavish promotions may not actually be that different to the low-end companies that do not promote so heavily.
'More expensive is not necessarily better, you may have a very expensive cream with very expensive packaging and another cream sold in the mass market drug chain store, which might be as good and contain the same ingredients and cost one-tenth of the price' Dr Diane Berson, a Manhattan dermatologist told media insiders.