3 questions to ask yourself before performing a consumer test

Focus on a technique published on 08/04/2019

Consumer tests are certainly the best-known tests, both by the cosmetics industry and by the consumers themselves.
Although quite simple to set up, they must be subject of a great rigor in their progress, to obtain a relevant perception of the product.
With more than 20 years of experience in consumer testing, our team looks back at some of the essential fundamentals to the successful setting up of a consumer test.

Did you know ?
Spincontrol already managed consumer studies on 500 people.

What is the aim of the study ?

Any consumer test has a purpose:


  • to evaluate the efficacy of the product, but also its organoleptic properties (fragrance, texture, product color, etc...)
  • to compare the product against one or several market reference(s): this is known as a benchmark study. Then, the products can be reconditioned in identical packagings, randomized and blind tested. The results will allow a perfect comparison of the tested products.
  • to do a study about the brand perception: this is know as a brand test. In this case, the tested product is not anonymous. Different protocols are possible: to test the product with users of the brand in question or, on the opposite, with non-users of the brand.
  • to have an emotional perception of the product: it is quite possible to add an emotional dimension to a consumer test. Different specific questionnaires to the collection of emotions exist and must be analyzed by an expert in neuropsychology. We propose this approach, as part of our partnership with Emospin.

Whatever the type of study you choose, it is very important to include a follow-up, done by a cosmetovigilant. This follow-up is planned in all consumer tests we carry out.​

What is the marketing target of the study ?

Imagine a consumer test on an anti-wrinkle, concealer and anti-under eye bags eye-contour product. People to include in the study should have... wrinkles, under eye bags and dark circles! But these cumulative criteria being impossible to find on one and the same person, it will be necessary to ensure a balanced selection, on each one of these specificities.

Questionnaire items should also be consistent with the chosen marketing target. For example, if a question is about the improvement of pigment spots, people with pigmented spots will have to be included in your panel (do not smile; this little story is very real).

Regarding the number of panelists, we recommend tests conducted on 60 to 100 panelists, in order to obtain statistically significant results.

In addition, our laboratory has developed two panels:

• a local one, in the area of the city of Tours: panel of 10,000 people;

• a national one: panel of 7,500 people, which offers greater flexibility in the diversity of selection criteria. Thus, it is possible for us to select women (and men!) living in French big cities, by the sea, going on ski holidays or in the islands, millennials followers of Instagram)... Everything is possible!

For each of our databases, nearly 300 criteria are provided, in order to have extremely specific information on our volunteers’ cosmetic profiles.

The registration questionnaire allows us to exclude people who should not participate in studies for medical reasons, and to ensure their motivation to become a panelist.​

How to be assured of the smooth running of the test?

The good progress of such a test rests on various elements:

  1. The development of a relationship of trust
    We attach fundamental importance to our panelists’ commitment. This may lead to exclusion from the panel, after three recurring breaches without valid reason.
  2. The selection of additional subjects
    We systematically select 10% (local panel) to 15% (national panel) of extra subjects to palliate some hazards of the study (skin reaction, lost or stolen packages, personal reasons of the selected subject...). This measure allows us to guarantee a filling rate of 100% of the questionnaires.
  3. The importance of community feeling
    Some panelists know us since the creation of the laboratory, which allowed us to develop a close relationship. Regarding the national panel, the relationship being remote; we have always wanted to personalize the relationship, by working on empathy and availability of the team, always contactable by phone, mail or Facebook.

But it's still our panelists who talk about it best on Facebook!

Avis Facebook Spinconso 

page Facebook du panel local de Spincontrol

With more than 1,000 consumer tests conducted over the last twenty years, our team will help you choose the type of study and develop the most relevant questionnaire in relation to your marketing case.​

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