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Social media is of significant importance for the beauty & cosmetics sector. The reach of platforms such as Instagram and TikTok enable brands and retailers to engage with consumers directly in a way that wasn’t achievable before. 

Influencers and content creators alike play a major part in marketing campaigns, with consumers looking to them for expertise and recommendations, the RetailX Beauty & Cosmetics report has highlighted.

Such is the impact of social on this sector that the majority of consumers who buy beauty & cosmetics online say that an influencer’s recommendation is likely to lead them to buying a product. 22% of cosmetics e-shoppers are “very likely” to make a purchase after seeing an influencer’s recommendation, with a further 42% “somewhat likely,” according to a survey of consumers in multiple countries by RetailX.

In both cases, consumers who buy beauty & cosmetics online are more likely to be influenced in this way than consumers who don’t shop this category online. A fifth of general e-shoppers say it is “very unlikely” that influencer recommendations will lead to them making a purchase.

While the results are true across four of the six countries in which consumers were surveyed (Australia, Brazil, UK and the US), online beauty shoppers in France and Germany are less likely to be influenced by what they see on social media than consumers that purchase in other product categories online. Overall, it is cosmetics purchasers in France that are least likely to spend money based on influencers’ content, although almost 50% of those asked could be influenced to a certain extent. 

It is among consumers in the US and Australia where the biggest differences can be seen between consumers who shop for cosmetics online and those who don’t. In the US, there is a 15 percentage point difference between the two groups while in Australia beauty consumers are 13 percentage points more likely to buy product seen on social media than online shoppers who only buy other categories. 

Consumers in Brazil are the most likely to be influenced into purchasing by social media content creators. 38% of the people who buy beauty & cosmetics online in Brazil are very likely to act on an influencer’s recommendation, with a further 43% somewhat likely. Trust in influencers is particular high in the South American country since the same is true of 80% of online shoppers overall. 

Instagram is the main channel on which cosmetics shoppers see adverts most often that they then click on. Again, this varies by country with consumers in Brazil most likely to interact with advertising on Instagram. The platform also shows up the greatest difference in behaviour between cosmetics shoppers and those who don’t buy in this category.

This feature was authored by Emma Herrod, and originally appeared in the RetailX Beauty & Cosmetics 2023 report. Download the full report which examines the beauty & cosmetics sector, the extent to which consumers are shopping online around the world, developments over the last year and the trends that will continue to drive ecommerce forward.