New Consumer Survey of 10,000 Beauty Shoppers Reveals Extent of Shift Online

Almost 9 in 10 shoppers say they spend more or the same on beauty products online than before pandemic; 2 in 5 more likely to buy beauty products for the first time than pre-Covid; ratings and reviews critical to buying decisions

CHICAGO, Feb. 17, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- An overwhelming majority of US beauty consumers say they are now spending more online than before the pandemic. And they are also far more open to buying products they have not used before than pre-Covid.

This is just two of the key insights from the latest consumer survey from PowerReviews, a leading provider of ratings and reviews and User-Generated Content solutions.

User-generated content has inevitably therefore become more critical to buying decisions: 99% say they always or sometimes read ratings and reviews when shopping online.

But social and political concerns are also having significant influence, with 76% focusing on buying products that are sustainably made and 50% actively seeking out products made by Black-owned beauty brands.

The PowerReviews Changing Face of the Beauty Shopper Study draws on survey responses from more than 10,000 active beauty consumers across the country, surveyed in January 2021. Key findings include:

  • Covid has significantly impacted shopping habits
    - 41% say they spend less overall on beauty products than before Covid; 21% say the spend more and 38% say they spend the same
    - Likelihood to spend more on beauty products increases in line with household income (24% of those with household income of more than $100k claim they spend more than pre-Covid)
    - 54% say they wear less makeup than before Covid; 56% say they focus more on skincare
    - 40% say they are more likely to buy products they haven’t tried before than pre-pandemic
  • Beauty spending has shifted online
    - 87% say they spend more or the same online than before Covid; again highest income bracket more likely to spend online
    - 49% say they now spend more than $50 online on beauty products; compared to 16% than when we asked this same question in 2019
    - 57% of shoppers say that they had never tried more of a quarter of the beauty products they bought online in 2020 (i.e. they were first time purchases)
    - However, in-store beauty spending at this level has also increased: 41% say they now spend more than $50 in store, compared to 21% in 2019; 55% also say they use curbside pick-up more than before the pandemic
  • User Generated Content (i.e. Ratings & Reviews) is CRITICAL regardless of shopping channel and has increased in importance
    - 99% always or sometimes read ratings and reviews when shopping for beauty products online, same figure for in-store shoppers is 85%
    - 79% focus on average star rating, 58% care about overall volume of reviews and 49% say they look for recent review content.
    - 41% say they rely on reviews more than they did pre-Covid. This is most prominently the case among younger generations, with 58% of Gen Zers claiming this to be the case.
    - User-generated imagery and video is also key, with 38% saying it's more important than before the pandemic (again this figure is highest among Gen Zers at 53%)
  • Social and political issues are also now significantly impacting shopping behaviors:
    - 76% are focusing on buying products that are sustainably made
    - 50% actively seek out products made by Black-owned beauty brands.

Andrew Smith - VP, Marketing at PowerReviews, says:
“We all know how much consumer shopping behaviors have shifted online as a result of Covid but these results really bear it out. The fact that the proportion of consumers who spend more than $50 on beauty products online is now 3x what it was in 2019 shows the acceleration in this transition.

“It’s no surprise that shoppers are relying more on validation from existing shoppers when making buying decisions now they are shopping more online. User-generated content in the form of ratings and reviews, customer imagery/video and questions and answers is key to providing the buyer confidence necessary for consumers to hit the purchase button.

Social and political issues have been at the forefront of our collective consciousness in recent times. Brands need to be aware that consumers are increasingly influenced by their opinions in this respect so need to adjust accordingly.”

Read the full survey results on the PowerReviews website.

Research Methodology

The PowerReviews Holiday Consumer Survey draws on responses from 10,646 active shoppers across the United States who have opted in to offers and discounts from retailers. The survey took place in January 2021.


PowerReviews ( helps leading retailers and brands generate customer product ratings and reviews in larger volumes to significantly increase sales and then analyze and benchmark all this data to improve product quality and customer experience.

PowerReviews is headquartered in Chicago, IL, USA.

Media Contact
Andrew Smith
VP, Marketing - PowerReviews