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NPD Group: Mass merchants, drug stores are go-to sources for beauty products


NEW YORK While more women skipped department stores and headed to specialty retailers for their beauty needs in the past year, mass merchants and drug stores took the lead as the most cited channels shopped, according to recent research conducted by the NPD Group.

According to the study, more women have shopped at specialty stores for beauty products in the past year than at traditional department stores (27% versus 15%, respectively). But while specialty stores were among the most cited channels shopped for beauty products in the past year, they were surpassed only by mass merchants (53%) and drug stores (41%).

The findings are based on a nationally representative sample of females, ages 18 to 64, which were selected from NPD’s Online Panel between Nov. 20 and 26, 2008.

The study also found that specialty store shoppers, who tend to skew younger, are the most likely to cross-shop. Compared with mass and drug store shoppers, the specialty store shopper is significantly less likely to shop in this channel most often for her beauty needs (39% and 20%, versus 6%, respectively).

While women in the 35 and older group that shop at mass or drug stores often account for at least two-thirds of sales in those channels, the proportion of women in the 25 and older group who shopped at specialty stores in the past year drops from 58% to 50% when asked if they shop this channel most often, NPD stated.

Looking ahead, the specialty channel shopper is the most likely to say that she plans to spend less for beauty in this channel over the coming year (28% for specialty store shoppers, versus 20% and 24%, respectively, for mass and drug store shoppers). In addition, the specialty store shopper is the least likely, among the top three channel shoppers, to say that she plans to spend the same as she did in the past year (63% for specialty, versus 71% for mass and 68% for drug stores), the study found.

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