By  on March 25, 2005

NEW YORK — It seems that affluence is synonymous with fickleness in the beauty market.

Women with an annual household income of between $100,000 and $200,000 are shopping for beauty products at mass and there’s less brand loyalty among them than one may think, an NPD Beauty survey has found. These women are classified as “affluent” by NPD Beauty, a division of market information company The NPD Group, and they “are more likely to shop for both beauty and general products at mass merchandisers,” NPD stated. “Price is an issue for affluent women and they are not necessarily after the most expensive product on the market.”

NPD polled 1,943 women in three household income brackets: Less than $100,000, or “nonaffluent” consumers; from $100,000 to $199,999, and greater than $200,000, or “high-end affluent” consumers.

“Affluents are similar to nonaffluents in that they are somewhat less brand-loyal than high-end affluents,” NPD said. “Affluent women are more willing to try something new, particularly if their regular brand has become too expensive.”

The NPD study found that, like nonaffluent women, affluent women tend to buy beauty products when they are in stores to buy something else. Also, newness matters to affluent women: They “demonstrate a much greater interest than women in other income groups in trying new products when they first come out.”

Meanwhile, NPD found that high-end affluents say it’s the “experience” of having a particular product that is “most important to them. It is about the experience of owning and using this product — an exclusive product that most people do not have.”

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