Natural cosmetics purchasing behavior is gender fluid, finds study

By Lynda Searby

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images - Mizina
© Getty Images - Mizina

Related tags natural beauty green beauty Natural cosmetics consumer behavior Sustainability Environment

Men might be from Mars and women from Venus, but when it comes to natural cosmetics, it could be outdated to suggest that women shop differently than men.

Their purchasing behavior is very similar, with both motivated by environmental concerns and neither deterred by price, finds a study of cosmetics users in India.

Both male and female consumers liked purchasing cosmetics made of natural ingredients and were more inclined to purchase natural products if they knew that doing so would benefit the environment, reported Anusha Tengli et al. in the journal Cosmetics​. 

“The results show that there was not much difference in male and female consumers’ purchase intention and purchase behavior towards natural cosmetics,” ​Tengli et al. said. “Both male and female consumers had a positive attitude towards cosmetics made of natural ingredients.” 

What’s more, although price has been identified as a barrier to purchasing organic food in studies carried out in Sweden and Northern Ireland, in Tengli et al.’s study 67.9% of respondents were willing to pay between $6-$25 per item for natural cosmetics.

“From these observations, we can safely assume that price is not a barrier to purchasing natural cosmetics for both women and men and that their attitude is not very different,”​ Tengli et al. said.

Men under-represented in literature

According to Tengli et al., while a number of studies have focused on women as consumers of natural cosmetics, only a few have included men in their samples, despite the growth of the male grooming market in India and globally.

“In India, there has been a growing trend in the use of cosmetics by men for various reasons, and it has been observed that both men and women are showing a growing preference for natural products,”​ Tengli et al. said.

Therefore, they set out to identify the variables that determine the purchase intention and behavior of both men and women with regard to natural cosmetics in India.

Of the 335 surveyed, 56.5% were women and 45.4% were men, all aged 22 and 79.4% of whom were already using natural cosmetics. The Theory of Planned Behavior - a causal model that is widely used to explain online shopping behavior - was used to study their purchase intentions and behavior.

Key findings

Attitude towards the environment, attitude towards natural cosmetics, product knowledge and perceived behavioral control (perceived ease or difficulty of using/purchasing natural cosmetics) were all found to have a positive influence on purchasing intent.

Five takeaways

•   Both male and female consumers have a positive attitude towards cosmetics made of natural ingredients.

•   Both men and women are more inclined to purchase natural cosmetics if they perceive that there is a benefit to the environment.

•   Price is not a barrier to purchasing natural cosmetics for either men or women.

•   Neither men nor women are influenced by friends, relatives and peers in the decisions to purchase natural cosmetics.

•   Product knowledge creates a favorable attitude towards purchasing natural cosmetics.

Of the variables studied, subjective norms or ‘social pressure’ was the only one that was found not to have a significant positive impact on either the purchase intent or behavior of both male and female consumers. 

This finding was in conflict with previous studies, in which subjective norms were found to play an influential role in natural cosmetics purchasing behavior.

 The researchers said that companies could use the findings to inform their marketing efforts.

“Natural cosmetics companies can review these results, place more emphasis on creating greater awareness about natural cosmetics and their benefits among consumers directly, and actively propagate environmental concerns among their male and female customers, which can lead to the strengthening of purchase intentions and hence positively influence purchase behavior,”​ Tengli et al. said.


Source: Cosmetics

“An exploratory study to identify the gender-based purchase behavior of consumers of natural cosmetics”

Authors: Tengli A, Srinivasan SH

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