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African American women more active on mobile for beauty research, deals: report

May 16, 2014

African American women are more invested in beauty than other racial group

African American women are more invested in beauty than other racial group

A recent study by MocoSpace found that 73 percent of African American women actively use mobile for beauty product discovery and purchase decisions.

“Looking Good with Mobile: Trends in the Beauty Purchasing Habits of African American women,” fielded a survey of 9,209 respondents, twenty percent of which were African American women. With added initiative to seek out deals, compare prices and share their experiences, this segment uses mobile for cosmetics research 9 percent more than the total population surveyed.

“The percentage of people using and trusting their mobile devices to not only research products, but also purchase products continues to get higher,” said Tom Dorf, vice president of advertising sales at MocoSpace, Boston.

“There is a great opportunity to capitalize on this behavior by creating a mobile and social-friendly brand experience across all mobile and tablet devices. Consumers will always like to be recognized in a relevant way.”

“Brands will see greater success with their social media efforts when they build trust with their target audience through relevant conversations, rewards and information,” he said.

Mobile beauty habits
African American buying power will rise from its current $1 trillion level to a forecasted $1.3 trillion by 2017 according to Nielsen.

The ongoing population growth and increases in educational attainment are key factors in the increase of African Americans’ consumer power.

African American women are more likely than the total population to use mobile to find deals.

Three categories of products were the most tried in the last three months by women: 55 percent tried a new hairstyling product or brand; 54 percent tested a new perfume; and 41 percent experimented with new nail polish.

African American women drive household purchasing decisions and most spending, with 84 percent claiming they purchase most of the personal care and/or beauty products for their family.

More than half of the women shoppers surveyed prefer specialty and department stores for products that meet their unique needs.

Additionally, 56 percent shop for hair products, 53 percent shop for body care products, 42 percent for make-up and 49 percent, perfume.

As for daily beauty routines, 68 percent identified using hair sprays or gels, and 54 percent said lipstick/lip gloss was the most essential part of their regimen.

Lip gloss is a staple in African American womens' beauty routines

Lip gloss is a staple in African American womens’ beauty routines

“The findings from this study underscore the significance of beauty and grooming to the African American market and the need to connect with them wherever they are,” said Deidre Smalls-Landau, executive vice president and managing director at Identity, New York. “Furthermore it cements the mobile platform as a leading ‘passion’ channel to sustain conversations, share information and be a platform of expression for this dynamic community.”

Untapped opportunity
The multicultural market is rapidly expanding and a hefty part of that growth is contributed by the African American community, which Nielsen reports accounted for 13.8 percent of the total U.S. population in 2013, and increased 64 percent faster than the rest of the country since 2010, an accrual of 43 million people.

This highlights how important this category is both to the consumer and for the brands involved.

Companies and marketers seeking to establish a meaningful relationship with this consumer group can further enhance a brand’s ability to grow, be understanding differential demographic, shopping, buying, viewing, digital and mobile trends.

Clear opportunities exist for personal care manufactures and/or retailers to better reach African American women via mobile marketing campaigns, especially considering that 59 percent of African American women participate in reward programs at drugstores or supermarket stores.

“Looking Good with Mobile” suggests that marketers offer compelling deals that are easy to find on your mobile friendly site and via social channels, and leverage social channels to build trust with target audiences and create positive conversations on featured products.

Looking at opportunities to engage influencers to build relevant, useful and mobile ready tips on how to use a product is a must, and rewarding social sharing with fan recognition and exclusive deals should be considered as well.

“The study highlights that multicultural consumers are mobile first for beauty product discovery. Mobile marketing offers a mostly untapped opportunity to craft targeted campaigns that resonate, engage and meet the needs of multicultural consumers,” said Julie Diaz-Asper, founder at Social Lens Research, Washington.

“Companies that use mobile effectively will have the advantage with this consumer segment. It’s time to lead with mobile versus using mobile as an add-on,” she said.

Final Take:
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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Michelle Saettler is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer, New York. Reach her at

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