From probiotics to collagen powders, skin teas to glow gummies, there is a supplement for just about every beauty concern and consumer. Solutions for aiding digestion to helping hair grow crowd retailer shelves and Instagram feeds with promises of better, more powerful results than topicals alone. But what do consumers really think of these products and claims and the supplement category overall, and how do they fit into her beauty routine? The Benchmarking Company spoke with over 3,000 female beauty consumers to find out (1).
As efficacious as today’s topical formulations are, no longer is it enough for beauty brands and companies to rely on topical skincare alone. Consumers want a more holistic approach to their beauty, and 97% say they are interested in taking a supplement specifically for beauty.
Two out of three women expect brands to offer supplements that complement their traditional beauty routines and products, and 82% agree that an inside-out approach to beauty is the best way to meet their anti-aging and overall wellbeing objectives. And although anti-aging is often the main reason consumers reach for their favorite topical, when it comes to supplements, hair (54%) and nail (47%) health are the top reasons she’s used a supplement. Other beauty concerns she’s addressed with supplements include clearer skin (34%), restoring collagen/firming (34%), weight loss (34%), and skin hydration (20%).
Main barriers to supplement use include cost (37%), and dissatisfaction with previous results (25%). Plus, many consumers admit they aren’t sure why or how to use supplements. A quarter of consumers reveal supplements are confusing and they are unclear how to use them, and 19% don’t understand what benefits supplements offer.
MAKE SPACE FOR SUPPLEMENTS
The Benchmarking Company | United States
Based in sun-seared San Diego, Denise Herich is co-founder and managing partner at The Benchmarking Company. The Benchmarking Company provides marketing and strategy professionals in the beauty and personal care industries with need-to-know information about its customers and prospects through custom quantitative consumer studies, focus groups, its annual PinkReport™, and consumer beauty product testing for marketing claims.
Cost is an important factor for supplement usage. Perhaps that’s why Amazon.com (56%), Walmart (46%), the drugstore (34%), and Target (29%)—retailers with a reputation for offering quality products at a value—are her retailers of choice when shopping for supplements.
Supplement brands she’s most likely to seek out include brands that are well known in the skincare category such as Murad and Perricone MD, as well as relative newcomers such as Nature’s Bounty, Vitafusion, Olly, and Garden of Life. In addition to the previously stated benefits of hair and nail health, other beauty concerns she’d like to address with supplements include anti-aging (72%) and wrinkle fighting (69%), hydration (69%), boosting metabolism (69%), managing stress (67%), building collagen (62%), and detoxing and improving sleep (61%).
Not surprisingly, there are a number of concerns consumers aren’t interested in using a supplement to address. She’s not seeking a supplement to support specific health issues such as prenatal and lactation support (82%), regulating thyroid functioning (53%), or helping control blood sugar (50%). She’s also not that keen on seeking out an ingestible solution to cure acne/breakouts (47%), manage PMS (41%), improve libido (41%), or support vaginal health (35%).
Consumers know they have a bounty of supplement choices available to them. Given this volume of choice, the number one most important attribute they expect in a supplement is a manageable cost. Eighty one percent want their supplements to be affordable and a value. She’s also looking for efficacy (69%) and proof, and both clinical (68%) and consumer claims (66%) ranked high in importance with consumers. Brand reputation (65%), taste/flavor (55%), and supplement form (i.e. pill, powder, gummy, etc.) were also meaningful.
HER SUPPLEMENT DO’S AND DONT’S
Ingredients used in supplements matter to her. Topping the list of ingredients she’d like to see in an ingestible are well knowns that she’s already familiar with or has maybe used in the past such as vitamin D (75%), vitamin C (69%), B-12 (65%), and antioxidants (61%). Also important are vitamin E (55%), biotin (53%), omega-3s (52%), probiotics (50%), vitamin A (48%), zinc (47%), and collagen (46%).
Her list of ingredient no-nos is also compelling. The number one villain in any supplement is sugar (41%). Other ingredients she could also do without include fillers and animal by-products (34%), colorants (33%), GMOs (31%), and last but not least artificial flavors and preservatives (30%). It’s worth noting however that for as opinionated as most consumers are about the ingredients used in supplements, 26% admitted ‘they just assumed that every ingredient in their supplement was safe!’
When it comes to taste, traditional fruit flavors such as mixed berry (56%), strawberry (43%), and tropical fruit (42%) dominate followed by classics such as chocolate (40%) and vanilla (34%). And although trendy, exotic flavors such as salted caramel, mint, and coffee were least popular choices.
WHAT’S INSIDE COUNTS
Eighty five percent of consumers use a supplement daily and 88% view supplements as a regular part of their beauty routine. Other reasons why consumer seeks out a supplement is to address a specific health issue (24%), to boost energy (23%), to encourage sleep (21%), or when they feel tired (18%).
Most beauty consumers use supplements to support their overall health (75%) and because they think supplements are good for them (72%). She also seeks out a supplement to achieve specific health objectives such as support hair/skin/nails (62%) or to solve issues not addressed by diet or exercise alone (51%).
Of note, when consumers first turned to a supplement, a wish to be healthier overall was the key purchase motivator (68%) but as supplement use continues; the top five factors informing her decision making are intended benefit, ingredients, efficacy, value/price, and consumer claims/reviews. For consumers currently using a supplement, 72% are taking easy to swallow capsules, followed by tablets/a pill (58%), gummies (50%), and powders (32%).
THE SUPPLEMENT 411
Generally speaking, consumer confidence in supplements is good. Sixty-eight percent (68%) of beauty consumers say that an inside-out approach to overall wellness is healthier than a prescription, and 59% told us they believe their supplements are worth every penny. Plus, 38% agree strongly that their supplements are working for them, and 62% say they would buy beauty supplements from their favorite beauty brand.
Half of all consumers strongly agree that oral supplements offer more efficacious benefits than simply applying a cream, serum, or lotion to the skin. Perhaps because of this confidence, over three quarters of consumers (87%) expressed interest in a customizable supplement that could be shipped directly, and 59% an ‘all in one’ supplement which would answer the majority of their beauty concerns with one product.
Trusted resources are still her primary source of guidance and information for making a decision on which supplement to purchase, and most consumers seek the advice of their primary physician (57%); word of mouth or friends (47%); medical websites (47%); online or social media (23%); or their dermatologist (20%).
CASHING IN ON SUPPLEMENTS
THE SKINNY ON SUPPLEMENTS