February 3, 2021 Published by

In this article, derived from the results of The Benchmarking Company’s January 2021 original primary research study of 2,000+ US beauty product consumers, we’ll take a look at her frequency of buying beauty online, her comfort level with unboxing in the midst of a pandemic, her primary and secondary packaging expectations when products arrive at her doorstep, what’s important to her on a package (and about the package itself), packaging material preferences for her favorite beauty products, and her thoughts on aspirational packaging.

Her Online Beauty Buy Has Increased

Ninety-six percent (96%) of US females have bought makeup, hair care or skincare products since the pandemic began. Of those, 93% have bought beauty online during the past year, compared to 90% who bought online prior to the pandemic. What’s telling, however, is the higher percentage of women who say they’re buying between 51-100% of their beauty products online now (64%) compared to pre-pandemic times (29%).

Of those who buy beauty online now, 51% say they are ordering products to be delivered either once or twice a month, with another 30% saying they order every 2-3 months.

Package Expectations and Concerns in Today’s Reality

Her delivery expectations are realistic when buying beauty products online. Only 3% expect their purchases to be delivered the same or next day. Twenty-nine percent (29%) expect delivery in 2-3 days, 51% expect their deliveries within a week, and 18% expect deliveries that will take 1-2 weeks to arrive.

Most buyers are not especially concerned about contagion as it relates to the packages that are delivered to her. Seventy-two percent (72%) of women who buy beauty online say they are not concerned that they could contract coronavirus by receiving their package in the mail (4% say they were concerned; 24% say they are somewhat concerned). Twenty-four percent (24%) say they always disinfect a package (with a disinfectant spray or by other means) when receiving it now; 22% sometimes go to this effort, and 54% say they never do this.

Whether it’s an integrity issue of the primary, secondary, or tertiary packaging (not withstanding handling practices of shippers), product leakage and breakage are always concerning. Not surprisingly, with an increasing number of product deliveries there are increasing numbers of packaging mishaps. Theft of packages delivered to the doorstep has also risen sharply, compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Twenty-one percent (21%) of current online beauty buyers have experienced the receipt of products that have leaked from their primary packaging when delivered, and 36% say this is an increase in leakage from products she had delivered prior to the pandemic (10% say she has package leakage issues less frequently now and 54% say it’s the same).

Products that arrive broken have increased as well. Nineteen percent (19%) of women who buy beauty online for delivery say they’ve experienced the receipt of broken products since the pandemic, representing a 43% increase in the instance of product breakage since pre-Covid times (10% say she has breakage issues less frequently now and 47% say it’s the same).

The rise in package theft has been daunting for every industry.  Ten percent (10%) of beauty buyers have had at least one beauty product package theft from their doorstep since the pandemic began, representing a 75% increase in theft that she had experienced pre-Covid (5% saying they’ve experienced less theft now, and 20% said the frequency of theft is about the same)

The Unboxing Experience

Beauty products and packaging delivered to her door are no less anticipated than those she bought off the shelf. The consumer expects to be delighted when opening her beauty shipment, especially if she’s a premium-beauty buyer.

Of the 55% of consumers who now buy their premium/lux beauty products online for delivery:

  • 88% enjoy the surprising free samples she receives with her shipment
  • 81% say unboxing their beauty products is an exciting experience, like receiving a gift
  • 78% say they always receive exactly what they order (nothing missing or different than expected)
  • 73% say their packaging is sturdy

But is the package experience from an ecommerce buy really the same?