May 21, 2003, 12:00 AM

Loyalty points score big with frequenters of beauty sites

More than 50% of the biggest purchasers of cosmetics would switch brands to earn beauty points, Forrester finds.

Who are some of the consumers most likely to be swayed by loyalty programs? One such group is online purchasers of cosmetics, according to recent findings from Forrester Research Inc.

A group whom Forrester defines as heavy cosmetics buyers spends nearly five times more on facial cosmetics each year than the average household. Forrester found that nearly 90% of such buyers are likely to join a points-based loyalty program. The heaviest buyers of cosmetics were 21% more likely to participate in a loyalty program than other buyers of cosmetics.

And though beauty purchases are less price-sensitive than other CPG categories, Forrester found, these purchasers are more likely to be influenced by loyalty points. More than 50% of heavy buyers of cosmetics were willing to switch brands if they could earn loyalty points for a similar product. Heavy buyers of cosmetics were also more likely in every instance to have visited several leading beauty sites about which they were asked, ranging from Olay.com to LorealParisUSA.com.

The brand-conscious cosmetics category has an opportunity to reach consumers by incorporating beauty sites into integrated marketing efforts, says Forrester. One way is for cosmetics manufacturers to use retail partners to help deliver beauty points earned online or off. “Beauty product manufacturers should enlist retailers with successful loyalty programs, like CVS/pharmacy, to offer loyalty points to heavy beauty buyers,” says Forrester.

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