Now that the effects of the global recession are easing off, cutbacks in discretionary spending are not as common as they previously were, especially in the health and beauty industry.

Nielsen investigated consumer attitudes towards health and beauty products in its ‘Global Online Survey’, questioning 27,000 consumers across 55 countries where they purchased beauty products and what factors went into their buying decisions.

In Latin America and Asia Pacific, 96% and 92% of consumers respectively have still been buying health and beauty products, rounding off to a global average of 90%.

Globally, 69% of consumers were influenced by product prices, 65% bought due to the influence of their preferred brand and 58% bought certain products due to personal recommendations. A further 44% of the respondents bought health and beauty products due to the product’s promise.

In terms of media influence, the internet (39%), magazine editorial (37%) and TV/print advertising (36%) still hold certain influence over buying decisions.

By region, half of Asia Pacific respondents were swayed by the internet as a purchasing influence (the highest percentage in any region). The region was also influenced by content in magazine articles (45%) and advertising campaigns (44%), more than in any other region. European and North America consumers were least influenced by the media and were most influenced by price – 82% of North Americans and 70% of Europeans were focused on price.

Supermarkets were the most popular places to purchase health and beauty products (60%). Pharmacys were the second most popular destinations (39%), followed by speciality stores (33%) and the internet (22%).

Asia Pacific was the highest of any region to shop on the internet (33%), more than double Europeans (15%), Latin Americans (14%), North American (11%) and Middle Easterners (9%).