beauty needs,”said Evan Minskoff, VP-marketing, the About Group.“This presents brands with the opportunity to truly engage this au-
dience by emphasizing the relevance of their products to consumers’ core beauty goals.”
The study revealed that beauty products are non-negotiable, regardless of budget, because consumers view them as an im-
portant part of life and necessary to help maintain their look and skin/hair health. Eighty percent of respondents plan to spend
more or the same this year on skin, hair, male grooming, teeth whitening and cosmetic products, according to About.com, which
is part of The New York Times Company.
The study also concluded that consumers prefer ads that appeal to their confidence, rather than to perceived insecurities. They also
prefer ads that present brand and product benefits in an informative, intelligent way, and are receptive to ads that stress quality over price.
The most compelling ads offer free samples or trials (cosmetics, 71%; skin care, 64%), printable coupons (cosmetics, 58%; skin care,
56%) and product information (cosmetics, 49%; skin care, 44%).
More than 50% of consumers prefer well-established brands because they are more reliable and are perceived to have higher value.
Consumers prefer well-established brands over generic for cosmetics (73%), skin care products (72%) and hair care products (67%).
More info: www.about.com
Spa Visits Fall 10% in 2009
• Spas, like every other industry, were impacted by the worst economic downturn since the
1930s, according to the International Spa Association’s newest study of the U.S. spa industry. However, even with the decline, the“big five” indicators remain at their second-highest level since
ISPA’s first study in 2000, the association said.
Day spas continue to comprise an overwhelming majority of establishments (79%); resort/hotel
spas comprise the second largest segment ( 8.8%) with medical spas a close third ( 8.7%).
Spas received an estimated 143 million client visits in 2009, down 10.2% from 2008. Total revenue, according to ISPA, fell 4.3% to $12.3 billion in 2009. The four main spa treatment and service categories—massage and bodywork, skin care, hair and nail—accounted for 78% of total spa
revenue. Retail accounted for 12% of spa revenue, according to the association.
As a way of managing the effects of the recession, most spas have reengineered their menus.
According to ISPA, 75% percent have introduced shorter treatments ( 30 minutes or less) to provide a less expensive option for clients with busy schedules.
The full study is free for association members or can be purchased online, according to ISPA.
More info: www.experienceispa.com
Facebook Study Examines Consumer ‘Herd’ Instinct
• Teens aren’t the only ones who seem to be guided by the “everyone has one, so should I” mentality. A new study shows that
consumers are more likely to take up a product if they see that it is already very popular. The research, led by Oxford University, has shown
consumers have a herding instinct to follow the crowd once a clear winner is established. However, this instinct appears to switch off
almost entirely if the product fails to achieve a certain popularity threshold.
The study, published in the PNAS Journal, is based on an analysis of how millions of Facebook users adopted software apps to personalize their Facebook pages. The researchers analyzed anonymized data that tracked 100 million installations of apps adopted by
Facebook users over two months in 2007. The data allowed researchers to observe on an hourly basis the rate at which 50 million Facebook users installed 2,700 apps.
They discovered that once an app had reached a rate of about 55 installations a day, its popularity then soared to reach stellar proportions. A typical app was installed by 1,000 users, but the most popular app—Top Friends—was adopted by almost a fifth ( 12 million
users) of the entire Facebook population. Back in 2007, Facebook friends were notified if one of their online friends adopted a new app.
The study suggests that social influence had a key role in whether apps became flops or hits.
“Our analysis reveals a very interesting new finding,”said senior researcher Felix Reed-Tsochas of Oxford University’s Institute for Science, Innovation and Society at Saïd Business School.“Users only appear to be influenced by the choices of other users above a certain
level of popularity, and at that point popularity drives future popularity. Below this threshold, the effects of social influence are imperceptible. Because popularity seems to depend mainly on the choices of other users in the community, rather than intrinsic characteristics
of the applications themselves, it does not appear possible to predict which applications will succeed and which will fail ahead of time.”
Reed-Tsochas continued,“At this stage, we simply don’t know whether this marks an important difference between offline and on-line behavior, or whether more detailed and comprehensive data from offline contexts will identify similar collective behavior in settings
that do not involve online environments.”•