BrandSpark says brands are switching to premium brands

A Lot of Health & Beauty Shoppers are Trading up to Premium Brands Right Now

As we first outlined in mid-May, in certain categories, more shoppers that switch brands are doing so in order to treat themselves to a premium brand rather than to save money. We decided to see how this dynamic played out across 12 different health & beauty categories, ranging from shampoo & conditioner to natural skin care products. What we learned from polling our Shopper Army community was:

  1. On average across the categories about ¼ of shoppers had recently purchased a brand different than what they typically do. Among Canadian shoppers, it ranged between 20 – 40% by category, so there has been a lot of brand switching happening.
  2. The primary reason given was to treat themselves to a more premium brand. Among Canadian brand switchers, this was selected 45% of the time on average, and ranged as high as 66% for natural skin care products. In contrast, switching to save money was ranked #2, being selected 24% of the time. Preferred brand being out of stock was selected 15% of the time.
  3. Canadian shoppers are “trading up” more than Americans. On average across the categories, Canadian shoppers indicated “trading up” was their reason for switching 6% more often than Americans – and this gap ranged as high as 20% for lip colour. But “trading up” was also the #1 reason in the U.S. as well.

As so much attention has been paid to the ongoing economic fall-out of our collective response to the COVID-19 epidemic, it’s natural for many marketers to be thinking about discounting as a key tactic for increasing market share – particularly in categories where sales slowed over recent months, such as a variety of cosmetics categories. But as this data indicates, in many categories there is a great opportunity for premium brands to attract new customers looking to treat themselves – with 7 to 18% of shoppers in each of the 12 categories we looked at having recently bought a different brand than normal for just that reason. And with so many shoppers looking for little indulgences right now, it could be a great time to launch a new product – even if it has to be done a little differently than before.

If you are a marketer that would like to learn more about the specific data for your category, feel free to contact us at– we may have recently included it, and if not it could be a candidate for one of our upcoming weekly surveys.

Note: the categories included in this analysis were: anti-aging skin care products, body lotion, body wash, foundation, hair root touch-up, lip colour, mascara, nail polish, natural cosmetics, natural skin care products, sensitive skin care products, shampoo & conditioner.