January 13, 2022 Published by

In September 2021, The Benchmarking Company conducted an online study to explore consumer interest and adoption of single unit dose beauty products. The survey was designed to gauge her interest in products designed in single dose format and explored her purchase intent, influencers, attitudes toward unit dose form factors, and any barriers to purchase. More than 3,100 US female beauty buyers ages 18+ look part in the study.

She Knows Single Dose Beauty

Forty-seven percent (47%) of consumers surveyed have purchased a single unit dose beauty or personal care product in the past. Thirty-three percent (33%) of purchasers did so just one time; 15% say they are regular single-dose users, 49% buy single-dose products on occasion, and 3% of those who’ve purchased say they would not do so again.

Single dose beauty products represent only a small fraction of the beauty buyer’s typical purchase. Of those who buy or have bought single dose beauty, more than half (51%) say this form factor represents only 1-10% of their purchases right now.

Skincare (91%) is the most common type of unit dose beauty and personal care products she’s used, followed by:

  • 44% hair care
  • 31% bath products
  • 22% fragrance
  • 19% body care|sexual wellness/intimate care|color cosmetics (tied)

Her favorite unit dose brands include products from Estee Lauder (15% say this is a fave), L’Oreal (12%), Neutrogena (10%), Elizabeth Arden (10%), ROC (7%) and Rodin + Fields (5%). Other favorite single-dose brands mentioned included No. 7, Babor, Dr. Dennis Gross, Dr. Barbara Sturm, Elemis, Vichy and Kiehl’s, among others.

She’s purchased single dose beauty for a variety of reasons, including:

  • 54% single dose is travel-friendly
  • 52% I don’t have to guess how much product I’ll need
  • 47% keeps product from being exposed to sun, bacteria and air
  • 32% helps my product maintain its potency
  • 31% there is minimal product waste

When asked if single dose beauty users agreed with the following, the format was touted for an advance in freshness, yet some hadn’t fully realized a difference between a traditional packaged product and single dose.

  • 86% agreed it felt like the product in single dose stayed fresher longer
  • 66% felt a bottle of ampules lasted longer than traditional beauty packaging such as a jar or tube
  • 55% said unit dose products worked better than the same type of product she would have used in a jar or pump
  • 54% aren’t convinced yet, saying they did not see a difference in the way the single dose product worked over their other traditionally packaged products

Barriers to Use

Of the 53% who haven’t yet purchased a unit dose beauty product, the reasons range from availability to user control:

·       38% of non-users haven’t seen many beauty products offered in this format

·       35% believe it might be more expensive

·       29% feel extra packaging seems wasteful

·       28% don’t understand the benefit of single dose products

·       26% have never seen this type of packaging



Still, she’s open to the concept. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of non-users said they’d try a single dose product if they received a free sample of how the form factor would work. More than half, 54%, said positive products reviews about single dose products would influence her to give them a try. Forty-five percent (45%) want proof that single dose beauty products perform better than in traditional packaging; 40% would be swayed by a friend or family member recommendation; 37% want to see positive consumer perception study claims, and 29% are holding out pending evidence that the perceived waste of unit dose products will not damage the environment.

She’s Open to a Wide Variety of Single Dose Products

Whether or not she uses single dose beauty products now, consumers understand the utility of this packaging option for a wide array of products. Traditional skincare products like anti-aging facial skincare (74%), serums (65%), oils (52%) and eye creams (49%) top her list of products that lend themselves to single dose packaging.

Single dose buyers and potential buyers would expect to purchase these products at her favorite specialty beauty store, such as Ulta Beauty or Sephora (67%), from a general retailer such as Amazon.com (54%), from a brand’s own website (51%) or Superstore (50%) and to a lesser degree, grocery stores (34%).

Consumers Need Education and Proof

The consumer cares about efficacy, price and environmental factors when it comes to single dose offerings. Educate the consumer as to why single dose beauty offers an efficacious alternative to traditionally packaged products, while respecting the environment. Give the consumer the proof of efficacy that she needs in the form of consumer perception testing claims (with products tested in single dose format, of course); lead her to product reviews and customer testimonials. Utilize these proof points at point of sale, claims on packaging, social media and marketing strategies to capture her attention and your brand’s share of her spend.

About the Author:

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 consumer research studies, focus groups, its annual PinkReport™, and consumer beauty product testing for marketing claims.  www.benchmarkingcompany.com