Social influence trumps TV ads in HBA buys
MT. KISCO, N.Y. — Retailers and small- to mid-sized brand marketers shouldn’t be quick to dismiss social media as an effective avenue to communicate with consumers versus traditional media outreach like TV and radio. That was a key takeaway of a recent survey conducted on behalf of marketing/public relations firm Robin Leedy & Associates.
In fact, the research suggested that the balance of power already may be tipping in favor of social marketing, particularly in certain categories and definitely among certain consumers.
According to a survey of more than 1,500 U.S. adults ages 18 years and older — conducted in May by VeraQuest on behalf of Robin Leedy & Associates — consumers said that friends and TV were equal in terms of their ability to influence an over-the-counter or a health and beauty product purchase (49%).
Factor in such social networking sites as Facebook (7%) — really just another way to measure “friends” — and the impact of social influence is even more significant.
“There’s a tremendous amount of interest in the industry now in social media. One hundred percent of our clients now are doing social media, and only maybe half or a little more are doing traditional PR,” explained Robin Russo, president of RL&A. “Not that they don’t want to do traditional PR, but it is more a function of budget … and part of it is the immediacy. So we did this survey because we wanted to gut-check ourselves to see what’s really helping the purchase influence, because obviously that’s the bottom line with our clients.”
A deeper dive into the research revealed that the influence of friends is even more pronounced among women (52%) — particularly among women ages 30 to 49 years (55%), and even higher among women ages 18 to 29 years (58%).
The third-largest influence of OTC and HBA purchases overall was spouses/partners (36%); however, this differed sharply among men (45%) versus women (27%). A look at other key influencers suggested that, in general, digital media trumped traditional media, including online product reviews (27%) versus consumer magazine ads (24%); online articles (16%) versus newspaper articles (13%); and online video (7%) versus radio messaging (3%).
Blog reviews were another area that ranked as a source of greater influence among younger women (14% of women ages 30 to 39 years versus 6% overall).
“I think [social media] is the logical place, and I think that retailers need to look at that because, from my perspective, eventually you will have two or four brands, and one will be a store brand. The choices are going to be gone unless the retailers start accepting that social media will move the needle,” Russo said.
Consumers make a move toward fresh breath
Consumers’ desire for convenient, value-added solutions — not to mention their battle with more oral care issues as they age or take certain prescribed medications — likely has been the catalyst for the strong growth in portable oral care products.
Portable dry mouth treatments — such as Quantum OraMoist, which is a tablet-size dry mouth moisturizer patch, and Biotene — have seen significant sales growth during the 12 weeks ended April 17, according to data from SymphonyIRI Group. This isn’t exactly surprising, given that as Americans age and take more medications, oral health conditions also will rise. Studies have shown that up to 400 medications — prescription and OTC — can contribute to dry mouth.
Products designed to help freshen breath, such as Dr. Katz’ TheraBreath, which battles halitosis, and Evoraplus, which is a probiotic mint aimed at supporting gum and tooth health while freshening breath and whitening teeth, also have experienced significant growth. Obviously people desire fresh breath, but the strong growth of such products could be linked back to dry mouth, or xerostomia. A symptom of xerostomia is bad breath.
The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Oral Care Mid-Year Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.
Frugal shoppers bring spas back home
A shift in consumers’ shopping behavior to one that is focused on value, coupled with a desire to escape everyday stresses, likely helped drive the growth of bath and body scrubbers/massagers.
As shoppers increasingly have been watching their dollars, many have been creating an at-home spa experience versus spending their money at a pricey salon. This desire to create an at-home oasis has benefited the bath and body segment.
Furthermore, many mass market retailers have taken a page from the specialty shops, creating more inviting bath and body departments. For example, a recent trip to a CVS/pharmacy in New York turned up the Essence of Beauty endcap.
The attractive display encouraged beauty mavens to indulge their senses with bath and body products available in such fragrances as Japanese Garden and Citrus Coconut. Aside from lotions and body mists, the display also featured body sponges.
Essence of Beauty is available exclusively at CVS/pharmacy and online at CVS.com.
The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Bath and Body Care Mid-Year Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.