In Latin America, cosmetics do more than effect appearance. For women in this region, personal make-up regimens are often directly tied to their confidence, self-esteem, and strength, as they reinforce their identity and ability to manage family, work, and society. In Brazil, for example, personal beauty competes directly with family and finance/career aspirations. In fact, research has shown that women there spend an average of 20 minutes applying make-up, and for many, it is considered therapeutic leisure time. As a result, the Latin American cosmetic industry is quite dynamic, with several established brands competing within regional markets, and new ones continually entering the fold. Within this industry is a complex categorical hierarchy, which includes master categories (e.g. eyes, lips, nails), and subcategories (within lips there is: lipstick, lip gloss, lip liners). As such, maintaining a current understanding of how, when and why these consumers use beauty products is critical to the cosmetic industry, and requires a sophisticated approach to market research.
“It was crucial for us to walk in consumers’ shoes in order to truly understand their relationship with make-up, and collect meaningful qualitative data in friendly and inspiring ways. We were able to capture very useful consumer insights, materials and perspectives, which informed multiple discussions and decisions within the Avon organization.”
In a joint effort, Avon and FocusVision designed a quantitative+qualitative (Q+Q) research approach to collect both numerical and emotional data to present a unified view of the target consumer. First, a quantitative survey delivered by Decipher was used to interview female cosmetics users in Brazil, Mexico, and Columbia. Respondents were asked about the type and number of products within their personal beauty bag, including loyalty drivers, brands used and overall brand perceptions. A qualitative exercise was then focused on investigating the role and meaning of beauty in the lives of participants. Using the Revelation mobile app, participants were asked to keep a diary of their makeup activities over a one week period, including both image uploads and video testimonials. This helped the research team see how participants applied makeup, how they mixed and matched various products and the feelings experienced during and after makeup application.
Using a blended Q+Q research approach allowed Avon to gain a deeper understanding of the complexities and feelings of female makeup users in Latin America. The research identified distinct segments of consumers with unique sets of values and attitudes towards different brands. For example, “Make-up Lovers” or wealthy women age 30-39 love to shop and seek high quality leading brands: “I need makeup to feel alive. It’s an essential part of my day-to-day.” The average size of their beauty bag includes 99 items. Whereas another segment of middle-aged women identified as “cost minimizers”, place less value on their appearance and take a cost/value approach to beauty brands: “Simple makeup is a part of my life…I only use other types of makeup, on special occasions.” The average size of their beauty bag consists of just 12 items. These and many other data points provided valuable information to Avon. From emotional triggers to brand perceptions to usage habits, Q+Q research yielded significant insights that will impact Avon’s current and future product development, marketing and sales.
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