Introduction: Cosmetics Assignment
The cosmetic industry is a very fast growing industry with addition of large number of early adopters every year. It has been analyzed that this growth is mainly owed to the increasing impact of media ‘fashion trends and increasing purchasing capacity and awareness of buyers. The economic growth is also fuelling the growth especially in developing countries. This Cosmetics Assignment provides a deep understanding of consumer behavior and expectations as well as impact of marketing.
The market for cosmetic industry is highly brand oriented and does not get commoditized. The brand loyalty and purchase involvement is very high for a cosmetic product as they are responsible for the overall looks of a consumer and consumers are very conscious about their looks (especially the target segment of study). A cosmetic product not only sells by the value it provides but also by the brand name ‘the brand association’ celebrity endorsements’ peer recommendation and pressure’ sometimes high prices also works in favour of product as higher price gets it the image of being the best quality and lastly because of increasing animal rights activity there is a new trend of buying products with no or minimal animal involvement. The market provides consumer with a wide range of choice. (J. Gutman, 1982,)
Cosmetic product market is very dynamic in nature and it works of the buzz effect created by its marketers about any particular product. The customer is always feeling great about the product they use and consider them the best for there needs. The market is receiving new product and product line on a regular basis and there are various product offered by same company under different product lines or brand names to cater to the requirement of different segments. The present paper makes an attempt to understand how the consumers of cosmetic product will react and feel about the animal testing and usage of animal products in cosmetics. The buying behaviour and awareness labels of the respondents in the context of animal testing were also carried out. The impact of CSR and PR on product or brand perception is also understood
The respondent for this study comes from all kind of backgrounds. Like different ethnicity’ different racial birth’ residential i.e. rural or urban, and different educational backgrounds (W. Lazer, 1963.)
Aims and Objectives of Cosmetics Assignment Study:-
The basic aim of the study is to find out how customer feels about the brands of cosmetics they are using and if these companies are behaving ethically or not is a relevant factor in customer’s mind set and does it all affect the purchase of a particular brand and if yes how so. If the company is using animals for testing of products or using animal products itself as a raw material in there cosmetics are consumers aware of it and if yes how do they react on it.
To understand how much detail the consumers know about the brands they are using. To find out the reasons that why consumers buy a particular brand. Are they knowledgeable about these brands regarding their stand on animal testing?
To find the opinion of consumer’s about their brands on ethics. Does this information about animal testing changes or impacts the buying pattern of consumers in any way positive’ negative or they are indifferent about it.
To find out why consumers buy certain make up products and why they are preferred over others.( Davies, M. Brett (2007).
This is a group which consist of several members of different set of qualities. Like leadership roles or completer role’ idea plants or generators and motivators. Some members are good in analytical skills while some people are good at interpersonal relations and people skills and the combination of these qualities make it a perfect group to do this study. The only thing they lack in the group is an expert of particular cosmetic industry domain which they are planning to supplement by extensive literature review and secondary research.
The research tool used for study will be a questionnaire.
The sample size is of 100 respondents and sampling method will be simple random sampling.
The questionnaire will be filled by assistance of researcher in a neutral and comfortable environment so that respondents don’t get influenced. The age group of study sample will be 16-25 years and gender will be females. During sampling the group will try to accommodate as much members from all socio economic classes to get an ecologically valid result. The group will also try to evenly distribute numbers to all ages in the age group segment (16-25)
Educational background: – educated and belonging to urban population group.
During literature review about animal testing done in pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry there were arguments both in favour and against it as follows:
Arguments Against Animal Testing in Cosmetics Industry:-
- The first and foremost point put forward by environmentalist against animal testing is cruelty on animals.
- The debate continues solely due to the fact that animals are being treated cruelly only for the sake of a few cosmetics products and all lives are sacred and cannot be sacrificed by humans for their vanity.
- This is a very inhumane practice where animals suffer permanent damages to their senses even if they are not killed for the test because of the testing done on them.
- Once they are done testing of products the laboratories sell them either to butchers in various countries or left to die. Only Liechtenstein and San Marino are the countries which have banned animal testing altogether. (Carroll, A.B. (1999).
- Another point put forward is captivity of animals.
- Every year 115 million animals are used worldwide for testing. These animals are kept in captivity for long period during which various chemicals are used on them. Keeping them in captivity itself is considered as cruelty by various animal rightist and environmentalist.
- Some people questions the basic reason for animal testing itself by arguing that the blood distribution system of animals are different from humans and so is there skin which reacts in a different way than human skin so the whole point of testing animals for finding probable reactions on humans is mundane.
- The cosmetic testing on animals is very expensive.
- The cosmetic testing on animals is said to be less reliable.
- The animals are made to endure a lot of tests in the labs making the end-result meaningless as animals might react very different than normal during stress
- The cosmetic testing could also cause liver problems, swollen eyelids, ulceration and bleeding to the animals.
Arguments in Favor of Animal Testing
The companies and few scientists also have their point of view which favours the animal testing and they give their own reasons for it.
- There first point is it is done for the greater good of human society and common people. They say that protecting human health is on the top of their mind while they are carrying out the cosmetic testing on animals.
- These tests are done so that they could establish the safety of their products beyond doubts.
- The cosmetic animal testing also enables the company to maintain a competitive edge over the other companies which are working overseas or in areas where animal testing procedures are not very strict and regulations favours them in other areas.
- The companies also feel that they are safeguarding the environment by testing their cosmetics on animals.
- There is increased pressure from consumer groups’ food and drug authorities and licensing authorities regarding safe guarding of the products so companies are more prone to be extra sure about its product’s safety by testing them again and again on animals to check the drug effects on nervous system.
- It is said that the consumers have also been putting pressure on the companies to offer safe and improved products. as argued in the book” Consumer Boycotts: Effecting Change through the Marketplace and the Media “by Monore Friedman
In this era of liberalized economy there are a large number of brand names competing against each other whatever be the product and it is far more acute in the world of cosmetics. The cosmetics market probably takes the pride of having one of the biggest collections of end users. The list of producers and the number of grades of each Product is expanding every day.
In this kind of a buzzing market it is really difficult to find the realities behind a product how they are manufactured and does animal testing is done in a particular product. Only people who are well educated and aware of their environment keep a tab on it and make an informed choice about usage of products. The dynamic and attractive packaging of the products due to logically crafted business plan has been revolutionized over the last decade. Also it is quiet difficult to the appearance conscious young ladies to turn a deaf year to the dazzling industry especially when all other ladies are using them and getting benefited out of it. It appeals to one that the educated young ladies would keep their cool in purchasing the products and not be carried away by the stunning and loud display of packages of such products. This is the motivation behind the paper. So, it is interesting to find, the population, whose education level makes them the cream of the society, is how much aware while buying the face creams. (Rolando, Diaz-Loving, (1998)
Questionnaire to be Given to Respondents
Q1. Are you a regular purchaser of cosmetic products for yourself or any of your family members?
Q2. Are you aware that animals are used for testing of various cosmetic products?
Q3. Are you aware of the status of your brand in context of animal testing? If yes what is it?
- No animal testing
- Animal testing
- Don’t know
Q4. Does it bother you to know that your cosmetics are tested on animals which inflict cruelty on them?
Q5. If you find out that brand you are using does the animal testing would you continue with it?
Q6. Are there other factors involved in your choosing a particular brand of cosmetics?
Q7. If yes please tick on the factors which makes you purchase your brand from the list given below?
- Product value
- Product portfolio
- Better results
- Advised by some one
- Endorsed by someone you trust
- Value for money
- Celebrity endorsement or endorsement by a fashion expert.
- Prescribed by your doctor or dermatologist
- Premium tag attached with it
- Others……………………………………………………………….. (.please specify)
Q8 what is your opinion on animal testing for cosmetic industry
- Legal but Absolutely unethical
- Depicts ethical behavior only up to a point
- Unethical but no alternatives available
- Slightly Ethical and done for the greater good of human society
- Dose not bother me much
- Legal and ethical because it is for the betterment of all concerned
Q9. Should packaging of cosmetics contain details regarding its testing on animals?
Q 10. How often do you use makeup in your day to day activities?
- Every day
- Once in a couple of days
- Once a week
- Less than once a week
Q11 where do you make your regular purchase of cosmetic products?
- Super markets
- Discount stores
- Neighbourhood stores
- Speciality stores
- Giant retail clubs
Q12. What factor is foremost in your mind while making the purchase decision?
- Other…………………………………………………..(please specify)
Q13. In general your opinion about animal testing for cosmetic products
Q14 . Generalized opinion about animal testing for medicines?
Q15 do you think there are brands available in market who does not conduct animal testing and are fully ethical in their approach?
- Not aware
Theories Involved in Purchasing of Cosmetic Products
There are various theories involved while making purchase decision by consumers of cosmetic products as discussed in various literature and also by responses of respondents of study.
CONSUMER INVOLVEMENT THEORY:-
This theory states that level of involvement a consumer have in purchasing of a particular product. It is also dependent on value associated with purchase’ importance buyer associate with purchased product or whether it is a first time purchase or a repeat purchase. Involvement also refers to how much time, thought, energy and other resources people devote to the purchase process. The Emotional / Rational scale is a measure of reason vs. impulse, desire vs. logic, passion vs. prudence.
Based on above said factors purchase could be a
- low involvement purchase
- High involvement purchase
Both involvements also include a factor of emotional or rational thinking in purchase making decision. (Solomon, M. R. 1996)
In cosmetic product purchase the level of involvement is very high and it’s more of ethical decision making process then rational decision making process. While testing of animal is not done in front of customers neither customers are fully aware of the cruelty inflicted on them making it a low involvement procedure for customers and customers tend to avoid the thoughts regarding it.
APPROCH –AVOIDANCE CONFLICT THEORY:-
As per this theory there are many products or things we desire but we are aware of the negativity associated with them which creates a conflict in our mind regarding possession and usage of that particular product or service. a good example would be of drinking too much alcohol which many people desire to do but are conflicted by its ill effects on their health’ social circle and financial resources health. Then people make their own judgment based on their environment and thoughts and give weight age to each aspect and come up with a final answer.
Here in context of animal testing people are aware of animal testing but are conflicted by their desire to possess a particular cosmetic product and they make decision of buying it based on their own judgement on the subject. ( Ajzen, I. (1991),
As per this theory consumers make the buying decision based on their expected or desired outcome from the product. They choose one product over other because they expect more from a particular product over the other. In context of animal testing people tend to purchase those product who fulfil there hedonic and expectancy needs and they might tend to buy products who along with fulfilling them also justify themselves socially by avoiding animal testing. As proposed in the book “The Why of Consumption: Contemporary Perspectives on Consumer Motives, Goals and Desires “by (Cynthia Huffman, David Glen Mick, S. Ratneshwar)
Action Plan and Marketing Strategies
BUSINESS TO BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE WITH REGARDS TO CONSUMER BEHAVIOR IN COSMETIC INDUSTRY
It is a well known fact that there is a huge difference in consumer behaviour of B2B consumer from B2C consumer. The b2b consumer in context of cosmetic industry is very sensitive towards the feelings there consumer might display about animal testing. There are various communities around the world who would simply disapprove of animal testing because of their religious teachings or because of the general awareness among people regarding animal rights and animal cruelty. There are also huge legal and regulatory implications in certain countries if the large scale purchasers buy the product from a manufacturer who doesn’t comply with laws enforced for animal protection. So b2b buyers will always ensure that they buy from a reputed supplier who follows all the rules and norms. They should have all kind of certifications and clearance for animal testing. They will also ensure that animal testing is done under humane conditions and will prefer to buy from a long term supplier rather than a new entrant in market. Also in case of overseas supplier they will prefer those countries where laws are strict and followed upon. (Valor, C. 2008).
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MARKETING STRATEGIES IN BOTH B2B AND B2C CONSUMERS SCENARIO:-
As a difference between b2b and b2c it should also focuses on getting certifications from reputed government agencies and NGO’s to pitch in as a company with credibility and integrity. Endorsement by other buyers and partners will also help. (Carroll, A.B. (1999).
In case of b2c marketing the prospects become more public and general in nature. Here a marketer is supposed to appeal to the masses and win their confidence regarding the product quality and ethical practices of company. The marketer should use a proper integrated marketing campaign including PR and multimedia’s to make its point across the people. Marketer should also consider the image associated with its brand name and try to leverage on it as much as possible. Marketer can also use image enhancing techniques like CSR and public tour to the labs associated with animal testing which creates a positive image about company. It can also consider using some fund for animal welfare and scientific studies. (Tellis, Gerard J. (2004).
Market Segmentation :- the market is segmented as per the age group’ socioeconomic status’ into sections like
- Group 1. Age ( 16-25)
- Group 2. Age ( 25-35)
- Group 3. Age (35-45)
- Group 4. Age (45-55)
- Group 5 (55-65)
And as per socio economic structure
- Group a ( less than 50 pounds per month)
- Group b ( 50 to 100 pounds per month)
- Group c ( 100 pounds to 200 pounds)
- Group d ( 200 pounds and above )
After the research about consumer behaviour in context of animal testing we can draw following inferences regarding the consumer behaviour of people. Most consumers buy cosmetics on a regular basis. They are mostly aware of the fact that animal testing is done for cosmetics. Many of them choose to ignore the fact because of the hedonic pleasure they are getting from usage of that product. If confronted people are willing to change the product if they get a good alternative.
- K. S. Zhao and X. M. Zhang 2006, “Cosmetics Chemistry,” Wunan Publisher, Taipei,
- J. Gutman, 1982, “A Means-End Chain Model Based on consumer Categorization Processes,” Journal of Marketing, Vol. 46 (Spring), No. 2, pp. 60-72.
- W. Lazer, 1963. “Life style Concepts and Marketing Toward Scientific Marketing, Stephen Cresysered,” Chicago AMA,
- Hofstede, G. (1980) Culture’s Consequences. CA: Sage Publications.
- Kale, Sudhir and Jawn Barnes, (1992) “Understanding the domain of cross-national buyer-seller interactions,” Journal of International Business Studies, 23, 101-132
- Laura, Milner, Fodness Dale and Speece, Mark W. (1993) “Hofstede’s research on cross-cultural work-related values: Implications for consumer behaviour,” European Advances in Consumer Research, 1, 70-76.