Evolving consumer lifestyles are key drivers behind the vigorous premium beauty. These dynamics stem from cross-industry megatrends, observed also in foods and apparel. Purchasing decisions are increasingly motivated by the quest for healthy living and “green” consumption, where the “natural” is wider-encompassing to include products with eco-credentials, sustainable sourcing and clean labels. Moreover, as consumers seek “experiences” over “possessions”, they also consume less, and reallocate income to premium products, largely in view that these would better fulfil their needs and priorities. In turn, this is driving customisation and personalised beauty, reinforced by smart technology that is catapulting forward the desired lifestyles.
The pursuit of prevention and wellbeing is driving innovation beyond cosmetics. For example, Burt’s Bees entered beauty-from-within with protein shakes, while AB-Crew exploited the surfacing of athleisure beauty, to target active consumers with muscle-enhancing and recovery topical solutions.
Moreover, the resilient dermocosmetics segment is boosting brands, such as Rodan + Fields and La Roche-Posay, both of which grew in double-digits in 2016, but also channelling innovation in this direction. For example, Exuviance boasts make-up that leverages its dermocosmetic heritage, to complement its skin care solutions. The make-up artist brand, Bobbi Brown, made the bold move to launch Bobbi Brown Remedies with pharma-inspired solutions and packaging.
More novel for the beauty industry are products formulated with live probiotics that claim to act on skin care issues by helping to balance the skin’s bacterial flora. Among the pioneers are Mother Dirt and YUN Probiotherapy, both of which take dermocosmetics to a new level.
Beauty devices continue to advance. In 2016, 8.3 billion electric facial cleansers were sold globally, reflecting the growing quest for “smart” solutions, with personalisation forming a crucial role in device innovation, in order to assist users develop daily habits, track results and using products that exactly match their requirements. Device design is also increasingly aimed at “clean living”. For example, Dermologica’s Breezometer, tracks pollution levels in the user’s environment, to recommend the best-suited Dermalogica product, while Sensorwake’s Oria releases two scents, claimed to help maintain steady sleep.
Dynamic brands fuelled category growth, including Nyx, Urban Decay and Kiko Milano, as well as a plethora of niche labels, such as Milk Makeup and Too Faced. Nyx and Kiko Milano grew via retail network expansion, supported by in-store digital technology to enhance the consumer experience. Winning brands are typically leveraging digital platforms to communicate their message. For example, Glossier was born out of a beauty blog by utilising crowd-sourced insights, while Milk Makeup’s growth was partly motivated by a strong online following, as well as unique attributes, such as its weightless formula for a brush-free application, and an eco-conscious and hipster positioning.