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Internet Influence on Choice of Beauty Products in Russia



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The Internet plays a key role in the process of buying beauty products, in particular, facial care. Regardless of where purchases happen—online or offline—people search information on the Internet. Buyers believe that the Internet is the most useful and honest source of information about these products. This channel is ahead even of friends’ recommendations that take the second place. Read more in the joint study by Nielsen and Google conducted among Russian women aged 18 and more.

According to the study by TNS / Google, Buyers of Facial Care, Hair Care, or Make-Up Products, conducted in Russia in August 2018, 76% women who use cosmetic products address beauty content online at least once a month. Interestingly, 52% buyers follow beauty industry trends.

First Step to Buy is Online

The Internet takes part in all types of purchases. More than half of facial care buyers used online sources before buying a product in an offline shop or on a website. 25% respondents do not only look for information about goods in an online environment, but also buy them there.

Source: The Nielsen study was conducted in June 2017 among 260 facial care buyers aged 18 and more.

Every second respondent uses mobile devices when looking for facial care. With their smartphones and tablets, buyers usually look for basic information that can be found easily. This is a brand description and product features, prices, reviews and articles on forums and portals, shops, buying conditions. A bit less often, mobile devices are used to study reviews and discussions in social media, views of overview videos, and referrals to friends online.

According to Google, the interest of Russian users to beauty products grows steadily, whereof statistics of search queries speak.

Users’ queries: “what is primer”, “primer for face”, “why primer is needed”,” “ how to use highlighter”, “hydrophilic oil is”

Source: Google Russia, 2015-2018

Apart from official information, before buying, users are interested in independent ratings and recommendations of products.

Source: Study by TNS / Google, Buyers of Facial Care, Hair Care, or Make-Up Products, Russia, August 2018

What Is Bought Online and Offline

24% buyers of facial care goods make purchases both online and in traditional shops, while 7% use only online channels for that. Most women buy different brands online and offline—as for 48%, brand lists differ a little bit from each other, while for another 30% this is about totally different brands.

As for their demographic profiles, offline and online buyers are very similar. Their average age is 34-35 years, 65-70% has a family, every second woman has children, and their average income is nearly 30,000 rubles.

There are several reasons that can make users use online shops:

  • Lower prices as compared to offline shops.
  • A product can only be bought online.
  • A shop gives a present or a discount for online buying.
  • For the sake of time saving.

The choice of a channel is affected by what exactly buyers look for. Women often buy more complex goods on the Internet and simpler goods in online shops. For example, users buy creams, masks, sera, and micellar water online more often, while, as for offline shops, people come there for scrubs, lotions, and soap.

Planning and A Way to Purchase

Women look for goods online thoroughly, taking their time; that is why a personalized approach is appreciated here. 64% Russian pollees look for cosmetics online, and when an analogous product is almost over and they need a new one, only 47% prefer offline. If an old product is completely over, 44% users will go to an offline shop—only 19% will choose online tools.

Most buyers plan their budget and the very purchases, but users of offline channels learn information more thoroughly. It may be related to the fact that offline buyers study product offering already in a shop and often make impulse purchases.

Source: The Nielsen study was conducted in June 2017 among 260 facial care buyers aged 18 and more.

Internet Influence on Choice of Goods

Online information can change human choice. According to the poll, 41% choose goods on grounds of information from the Internet, 55% cater to their usual products, while 63% are concerned about specific characteristics. A choice is made after all details are learned.

Before buying, users spend 9 days on average to get all necessary information online. For 42% respondents, an online way is less than 24 hours, while 38% find all they need within one browsing session. On average, users look through 2 websites and have 4 sessions. At the same time, 78% buyers go directly to the website that they are interested in.

Search and beauty retailers’ websites are main online tools for buyers of beauty products. The third most popular place is taken by websites of cosmetic brands.

Source: Study by Nielsen / Google, Buyers of Facial Care, Russia, 2017

Visualization as a Major Promotion Format

According to the study by TNS / Google, YouTube videos helped every third buyer make a decision on the product choice.

YouTube is the most popular online video platform among buyers of facial care goods. 84% of the whole audience watched video there on their way to purchase, and that is why the platform can be effective in terms of promotion of these products. Moreover, 26% respondents watched content related to this very category of goods. One person, on average, watches 10 videos with duration of nearly one hour and a half. The most popular content comes from Russian beauty bloggers who tell about novelties, share care recommendations, and publish video tutorials.

Source: Google internal data, video views on YouTube related to personal care, Russia, 2013-2018

Apart from YouTube, buyers of cosmetic products follow trends on Instagram. In this segment, it is a visual component that is desperately important for the audience, being one of key factors when making a decision on purchase of goods.

Source: Study by TNS / Google, Buyers of Facial Care, Hair Care, or Make-Up Products, Russia, August 2018


The data from two studies that we considered above clearly show importance of interaction with buyers of cosmetics via online channels. If you want to present your beauty product in the Russian market, rely on RMAA Group experts: we will do market research for your segment, make up a strategy of an effective entry into the Russian market, and implement it with the use of the most effective promotion channels to win hearts of Russian buyers of beauty products.

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About the Author

Head of Digital, editor-in-chief of the RMAA Agency Blog

Author Yulia Vasilyeva
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