While once simply a way to entice consumers, beauty product samples are now a beauty offering of their own, thanks to innovative start-ups, travel restrictions on beauty packaging sizes and consumer desire to continually try new products. The biggest driver to this change has been innovative start-ups in the form of subscription sites. Websites like US-based Birchbox, launched in 2010, and Glossybox, its key competitor in Europe, have turned product sampling into a profitable business. The rise of online shopping and the rise of beauty advent calendars at Christmas have also capitalised on samples, turning them from freebies to commercially-viable products.
Sampling products - a key purchase influencer for consumers
Despite efforts by marketers to convince consumers to buy without trying, product sampling remains an important part of the path to purchase equation. In Euromonitor International’s Annual Survey on Personal Appearances, free samples was the fourth biggest influencer for purchasing beauty products across all four biggest beauty categories. Past experience, friends and family’s recommendations and price preceded sampling.