Retail

Groupon And The Big Business Of Beauty

Beauty is and always has been one of humanity’s favorite topics. English poet Thomas Overbury famously observed that it is only skin deep, while Irish poet Margaret Wolfe Hungerford noted that it is “in the eye of beholder.” And while no one knows who exactly originated the phrase “beauty is pain,” it is quoted widely and liberally  in salons, shoe stores and bridal salons nationwide.

But beauty — pretty much by its very nature is both engrossing and consuming — which means it really is not much of a surprise that beauty is big business.  Very big business,  according to the latest figures release by Groupon from a study of  2,000 Americans about how much money they regularly spend on their appearance.

By the numbers, quite a bit. Women spend more than men, $3,756 a year (around $313 a month), for a lifetime cost of  $225,360. And though they were outspent by the ladies, men are also shelling out fairly convincingly to keep looking sharp. According to Groupon’s figures, men on average spend $2,928 per year (about $244 a month). That comes out to $175,680 in a lifetime, 25 percent less than than women throughout their lifetime, but still almost enough to buy a Bentley.

The results — particularly in terms of consumers’ six-figure total spend on beauty products over a lifetime — were something of a surprise, Groupon’s VP and GM of Health, Beauty and Wellness Silvija Martincevic told PYMNTS in an interview, though certainly a welcome one.

“The market opportunity is huge — health, beauty, wellness is a $100+ billion industry in the U.S., and Groupon is uniquely positioned to capitalize on that opportunity given that over 70 percent of Groupon customers are women,” Martincevic noted.

And women whose beauty spend is most directed toward “facials, haircuts, makeup, manicures and pedicures” — all the types of spa-type services that the Groupon marketplace specializes in connecting customers to.  Men, Martincevic said, tend to gravitate toward “facial moisturizers, gym memberships, hand cream, shaving products and supplements.”

“Whether it’s a massage or another popular spa treatment, we want to help people find the time and places to relax — and save money while they do it. Health, beauty and wellness has the largest inventory base of any category in Groupon’s local marketplace, with more than 800 different services and treatments available”

By the Numbers

As women and men tend to direct their spend differently, the study found, they also tend to focus their efforts somewhat differently as well. Women are investing more in their faces monthly — $91 — to men’s more moderate $51. The main difference in cost there, according to the report, is make-up.

Looking one’s best — and younger — is also interestingly more of a spending leader for the young (and presumably still youthful-looking) than it is for older shoppers. People in their 30s spend more on facial moisturizer and anti-aging products than people in their 40s, 50s or 60s.  People in their 20s spend more money on makeup than anyone else. This may have something to do with the study finding that people seem to come to greater peace with their appearance as they age. When asked if they wanted more money to spend on their appearance if given the chance, half of those in their 60s said they would turn down the opportunity, compared with only a quarter of those in their 20s.

Of course, people in their 60s tend to have more money than people in their 20s, so it is possible they just don’t need the extra money for makeup.

Smaller questions aside, Martincevic noted, the numbers add up to a similar point.

“These lifetime figures show an incredible amount is put towards improving and maintaining our appearances,” Martincevic added. “No matter your age or gender, we’re all concerned with looking and feeling great and finding ways to do that without breaking the bank can make all the difference.”

Steering to the Data

Though the overall trend in beauty can be understood in broad strokes (and geared toward growth), as Groupon tries to connect customers to the right service or experience, there are also the specific pings that need to be accounted for.

“Certainly seasonality plays a big role in determining when certain treatments and services are more popular than others. For example, laser hair removal and waxing increases in popularity in the spring. During the winter, we see a number of people signing up for gym memberships and taking fitness classes as part of their New Year’s resolutions. We’ve also seen great growth in trendy wellness services such as floatation tanks and salt caves.”

And, Martincevic noted, Groupon is also expanding what it can offer, so that in addition to access, customers can have a really ultra-personalized beauty experience.

“We recently launched a new on-demand beauty booking service called BeautyNow, currently available in a handful of major U.S. markets, which lets people seamlessly book and pay for beauty appointments using the Groupon [mobile] app.”

BeautyNow helps users find  a salon or spa near them via the Groupon mobile app — book an appointment and, “We do the rest,” Martincevic says.

“BeautyNow has been live for three months, and early results have been very promising. We look forward to bringing this service to more customers around the country.”

We’ll keep you posted on the progress of keeping everyone looking just a bit more fabulous.

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