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Mintel’s latest research on Digital Route to Market for Beauty 2022 reveals the evolving role of social media and online purchasing channels for beauty products, and as the cost of living increases, brands should focus on authenticity and convenience to maintain consumer loyalty.

Mintel’s research* identifies the secondhand beauty market, where products are resold on social media such as Twitter and Instagram, as a significant emerging trend. Driven by a desire for new and exclusive product releases without paying the full price, nearly a quarter (22%) of Thai consumers strongly agree that it is fine to purchase secondhand beauty products on social media, despite risking authenticity.

The report also found that consumers aged 45+ in Thailand are more risk averse, with trust, reputation, and convenience being major drivers in purchasing beauty products through online channels. For instance, 40% of consumers in this age group say they prefer to purchase directly from the brand, and over half (54%) are put off by beauty and personal care products that do not provide scientific proof or evidence of efficacy.

At the other end of the spectrum, TikTok is emerging as the platform of choice for Thai Gen Z beauty consumers, who are drawn to attention-grabbing beauty content. 46% of this group say advertisements on social media have influenced them to purchase beauty products from online retailers.

Whilst digital routes to market for beauty continue to boom, there is still an appetite for a ‘hybrid’ experience that bridges the gap between offline and online. Consumers aged 45+ are most attracted by the flexibility to change or return products bought online at physical stores when products don’t meet their expectations (32%). Those aged 25-34 also rank this an important factor (31%), as it helps reduce post-purchase remorse and wasting money, which could discourage them from purchasing beauty products via online channels again.

Speaking of the research findings, Chayapat Ratchatawipasanan, Senior Beauty and Personal Care Analyst, Mintel Reports Thailand, said: “This is an exciting but also challenging time for beauty brands selling to the Thai market. Given that Thailand’s inflation rate has recently risen to 7.1%, we’re likely to see more Thai beauty consumers finding new ways to save on their spending as the cost of living escalates.

“This is where brands can maximise trust and convenience to help guide consumer purchases. For example, the rise of the secondhand beauty market could see brands lose direct-to-consumer sales, but they can mitigate this by creating official marketplaces with special offers for those items that are famous in the secondhand market. This would ensure quality and give consumers the savings they crave for the products they love.

“Consumers are also shifting the digital beauty space away from mainstream social media platforms, and TikTok has gained great popularity. With Gen Zs at the forefront, and as they are often early adopters, this platform is expected to grow further. Brands can engage this cohort with attractive digital incentives/rewards for their purchases. Meanwhile, leveraging chat commerce channels (eg instant messaging apps) will be key to enhancing online beauty purchase experiences for those aged 45+.

“Thus beauty brands that get ahead of the digital market trends — while targeting the needs of different age groups —– will be in the best position to reap the benefits of new age technologies wherein consumers can shop with confidence.”

For more information or to schedule an interview with our analyst team, please contact the Mintel Press Office at press@mintel.com.

Notes to the Editors

*2,000 Thai internet users aged 18+; Dynata/Mintel, April 2022