SOURCE: fluent


October 08, 2014 09:30 ET

College Students Reveal the 'Care' and 'Care-Nots' of Personal Care

Fluent Survey Indicates Which Products Are Forever vs Just a Fling

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwired - Oct 8, 2014) - The good news for toothpaste and deodorant brands is that, when it comes to college students, their work is essentially done. For other personal care products, all bets are off. According to a recent survey of more than 1,100 18- to 26-year-old students nationwide by college marketing and insights agency Fluent, a full 75 percent of students said they stick with the toothpaste they grew up with, and 66 percent said they stick with the same deodorant brand. Shampoo, conditioner, soap, body-wash, shaving products, moisturizers and mouthwash, however, all fell to 50 percent or lower in terms of carry-over from the home front, posing a significant opportunity for brand prospecting. [See Infographic]

"With the exception of a few tried and true personal care products, such as the toothpaste your mom always bought you, college students are open to trying something new," said Michael Carey, EVP at Fluent. "They are focused on value, so performance and price matter a lot. Pretty packaging isn't going to do it for them nor is adding a high-profile celebrity in the mix that you think will draw their attention. A brand's reputation along with a recommendation from a friend or a chance to trial the product personally really go the furthest in driving exploration."

Appealing to Their Senses

When asked to rank the importance of certain personal care routines, 83 percent of respondents ranked body hygiene routines (including lots of showers) the most important, followed closely by teeth care and breath odor at 82 percent. Face and hair routine were considered less essential with 63 percent and 54 percent respectively. But when it comes to splurging or treating themselves to a special personal care product, shampoo takes the top spot with moisturizer and hair conditioner coming in second and third.

Satisfying Their Curious Side

The clear majority of students, 61 percent, described themselves as "brand explorers," who find it fun to try new products and don't want to feel tied-down to one brand. In terms of what can trigger them to switch personal care products, hearing about a better product from someone they know was the number one trigger (46 percent), followed by lower prices (32 percent) and a new and improved version of a product from their current brand (14 percent). Curiously, students were less fatigued with current products than one might expect, with only 8 percent of students selecting "boredom" as a reason for switching.

In-store promotions and price cuts were ranked the most influential marketing tactics to entice students to try a new product, both receiving 70 percent of responses. These were followed by reviews (53 percent), free trials (46 percent) and coupons (43 percent). Social media and celebrity endorsements ranked surprisingly low in terms of influence with only 24 and 8 percent on responses respectively.

Going Big Box for Personal Care

When asked where they buy the majority of their personal care products, more than half (55 percent) said big box stores (e.g. Target, Walmart), with pharmacies (e.g. CVS, Walgreens) coming in second at 26 percent and grocery stores third at 15 percent. Only 3 percent said they shop online for personal care items and less than 1 percent said they buy on campus.

About Fluent: Specializing in "translating brands for the college world," Fluent works with clients who want to understand and engage College Millennial Consumers (CMCs) nationwide, both on- and off-campus. With a network encompassing more than 1,000 colleges and universities, Fluent's capabilities include campus activities and programs, College Millennial Consumer insights, digital and social media strategy and activations, and experiential programs. Clients have included major brands such as Kellogg's, Microsoft, Macy's, Jack in the Box, Skype, Zipcar, Kotex, Dove and L'Oreal. For more information, visit:

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