YouTube Bloggers and Celebrities in Beauty: Powerful Advertising Tool or Competition?

Beauty conglomerates locate a large portion of their finances on the marketing and advertising of their offerings including employing high profile celebrities and more recently fashion and beauty bloggers/vloggers. Estée Lauder has tapped on both ends over the past three years by employing both Emily Schuman from Cupcakes and Cashmere and reality TV star and model Kendal Jenner. Bloggers and celebrities are used to create buzz around a brand and for their perceived status as an influencer in consumers’ purchase decisions. They can also raise awareness of a brand among a specific demographic group which the brand has traditionally low penetration in.

However, the use of celebrities in both advertising as well as a spokesperson/endorsement of beauty products has in fact a low influence on consumers’ purchase decisions. In Euromonitor’s Online Survey on Personal Appearances only an average of 15% of consumers indicated that celebrities influence their purchase decision across all four major beauty categories (hair, colour, fragrance and skin). The highest responses came from China, India, Middle East, Mexico and Turkey. India and Turkey had consistently higher percentages of younger consumers that claim to be influenced by celebrities when purchasing their beauty products. In terms of categories, fragrances (where celebrities are most prominent in advertising) was also most influential among consumers with 16.7% of consumers claiming to be influenced by celebrities endorsements and advertising.

The Influence of the Use of Celebrities in Fragrance Purchases by Country, 2014

Celebrity-influence

Source: Euromonitor International

The rise of the blogger as an entrepreneur

Bloggers/vloggers are increasingly becoming a bigger influence especially for colour cosmetics where over 20% of consumers indicated that their purchase decisions was influenced by bloggers.  Some bloggers’ star power has turned them into celebrities as well as entrepreneurs launching their own businesses in fashion and beauty. Zolla, Bethany Mota, Lisa Eldridge and Michelle Phan are among the most well-known bloggers that have diversified their business beyond the blog. Interestingly, while fashion and lifestyle bloggers have gained much more publicity and are often preferred to beauty bloggers by brands, only 13% of consumers indicated bloggers influence their fashion purchases. In terms of markets, Australia, Brazil, China, Middle East, India and Turkey had the highest responses with young consumers prevailing across all markets with the exceptions of China and India where over 30s were the consumer group that claimed to be most influenced by bloggers for their colour cosmetics purchases. This indicates that despite industry perceptions (that bloggers are most influential among teens or consumers in their early twenties) there is a large consumer base in the 30-40 age bracket with higher disposable income that can be targeted through the use of influential bloggers.

However, the use of celebrities and bloggers is expected to continue to rise as the media buzz that such involvement creates, as well as the potential to introduce new consumers to the brand, remains a key part of beauty brands’ strategy regardless of whether it leads to actual increase in sales. While bloggers role has always been more editorial creating a new form of advertising through various blogs posts, social media usage and how-to videos; successful bloggers are now becoming creative directors getting involved in the product innovation process. Two recent key examples include Lisa Eldridge who is now Lancôme’s Make-up Creative Director and Emily Weiss who created her own beauty brand Glossier in 2014. The trend is also reflected in celebrities with Miranda Kerr and Jessica Alba among the entrepreneurs/celebrities embarking into beauty. This marks the beginning of a new way that bloggers can influence consumers’ purchasing decisions that can have a longer term impact on beauty business.  If a celebrity or blogger is passionate about beauty and has the ability (idea, influence over consumers, time and finance) to create their own profitable company; there is no reason for them to settle for just partnerships with traditional beauty companies.