Pressure to look good is escalating say majority of US consumers

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

The majority of American consumers believe the pressure to look
good is greater now than ever before, according to a recent
consumer report, although conversely this does not seem to lead to
higher spending on cosmetics products.

The Nielsen Company surveyed 26,486 internet users in 46 markets from Europe, Asia Pacific, the Americas and the Middle East in order to determine their attitudes towards health and beauty products. According to the survey, two thirds of US consumers felt that the pressure to look good is greater now than it has ever been in the past, a belief reiterated by consumers worldwide. Furthermore the study highlighted worldwide acceptance of the metrosexual male with over 78 percent of consumers worldwide, and 84 percent of Americans, agreeing that it is 'ok' for men to spend time and money on their appearance. "Global consumers overwhelmingly welcome the metrosexual male, with consumers in the US leading this trend of unanimous acceptance. People recognize that men want to look good too,"​ said Bruce Paul, vice president, client service, Nielsen. In terms of consumer spending, even though the majority of consumers report feeling greater pressure to look good, only 23 percent of US consumers say that they spend more on beauty products and treatments than they used to. Another trend identified by Nielsen is that the age of the consumer has an effect on their spending pattern. "It seems that the older you get, the less you spend, as teens and consumers in their 20s spend more in this category,"​ said Shuchi Sethi, vice president, consumer products, Nielsen. Indeed, a vast majority of US consumers 'very much' or 'somewhat' agreed that mass market health and beauty products are just as good as premium or expensive alternatives. In general US consumers say they spend most on hair care, skin care regimes and facial treatments, 81 percent, 61 percent and 47 percent of consumers respectively; with 53 percent buying mainly from supermarkets, 42 percent from department stores and only 18 percent from the internet. Of particular interest are the reasons stated by consumers for why they invest in personal grooming. A significant 64 percent of American consumers say they spend money on personal grooming as it makes them feel better about themselves; however leaders in this category were Latin American consumers, 84 percent of whom stated this as their reason. "In recent years beauty and health care products have become closely associated with consumers' lifestyles and identity. Successful marketers realize there is an essential emotional component involved in the beauty purchase decisions and are tapping into consumers' emotion to differentiate their product in a crowded marketplace,"​ explained Sethi. Indeed a number of big players in the personal care industry have launched more holistic marketing campaigns, such as Dove's campaign for 'Real Beauty' using real women and Nivea's 'Beauty is …' campaign that features slogans such as 'Beauty is Love' and 'Beauty is a Moment'.

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