Home Blog 2021 In Makeup - To Try, or Not to Try? That is the Question
Jun 7, 2021

To Try, or Not to Try? That is the Question.

Subscribe to our blog

If you asked me a few years ago what makeup product I was buying most often, I would say lipstick. Yet, you would hardly ever see me wearing it. Since this was pre-pandemic, protective masks were not the reason; it was all about shade choice. The shades were beautiful; they were supposed to work well with my skin tone, but something didn’t look right. At some point I just decided that a bold lip is not the right look for me and stopped buying bright lipstick altogether. Then I happened to play with the in-store augmented reality mirror at a beauty retailer, virtually trying on colors that I would have never considered buying, and to say I was surprised with what shades looked good on me would be an understatement. Lipstick testers from store displays were the last thing I wanted to put on my lips, so I missed many an opportunity to buy the perfect shade.

As a color category, makeup is about finding the right shade. The retail lockdown in 2020 meant that in-store testers were unavailable and limited consumers’ ability to try makeup products in-person. According to the latest NPD Makeup Consumer Report, shoppers’ preference for stores that allow them to self-test products declined significantly in the past year. As of this spring, only one-third of makeup users indicate that that’s how they prefer to shop for makeup – a far cry from the 41% who responded similarly before the pandemic. Considering how important finding the right shade of makeup is, the inability to try color cosmetics before committing to a purchase can be a significant factor in prestige makeup sales performance.

One way consumers can see how a product would look is trying it on virtually. The concept is not very new, and there are a host of apps, websites, and in-store augmented-reality mirrors that can meet this need. Yet, makeup users’ awareness of virtual try-on is quite low. According to NPD’s report, half of makeup users didn’t know they could try on makeup virtually, with 43% of Gen Z and Millennials saying so. This finding is quite surprising, considering these generations are more familiar with the latest technologies. Low awareness is clearly a missed opportunity for beauty brands and retailers, since the influence of virtual try-on has on those who have used it is high: 60% said it influenced their decision to make a makeup purchase.

Even with COVID vaccination levels rising, and retail becoming more accessible, it could take time for consumers to return to pre-pandemic makeup shopping behaviors. Luckily, we live in the age of technology. Making consumers aware that there are useful (and fun!) augmented-reality technologies that allow them to virtually try on makeup could help boost category sales.

Stay current in your industry

Related Content

Tagged: Beauty

Fragrance sales accelerate leading up to Mother’s Day
Fragrance sales accelerate leading up to Mother’s Day

According to The NPD Group, 19% of Mother’s Day gift buyers purchased fragrances, which is double the rate of any other beauty category.

Hope Springs Eternal in Prestige Beauty
Hope Springs Eternal in Prestige Beauty

A year after lockdowns began, U.S. consumers are hopeful about the promise of a return to normalcy, and the beauty industry is seeing some positive shifts.

The Rebirth of Beauty Bricks and Mortar in the UK
The Rebirth of Beauty Bricks and Mortar in the UK

Demand for beauty services and products heat up as hospitality and social events come out of lockdown in the UK.

Canadian Prestige Beauty Industry Beginning to Show Growth After Deep Declines in 2020
Canadian Prestige Beauty Industry Beginning to Show Growth After Deep Declines in 2020

According to The NPD Group the Canadian prestige beauty industry generated a -17% decline in 2020


Subscribe and get key market trends and insights relevant to your industry each month.

We will not sell your information. View privacy notice. Cookie Settings