Imogen is back from Paris after covering the Marketing Trends presentations at the annual in-cosmetics show. In this second blog, she highlights key beauty trends she picked up that are happening now – and ones we can expect tomorrow.
Insight 1: SMART Technology Delivers a Different Beauty Experience
We used to talk about beauty technology when referring to ingredients and formulations. Now, technology has taken on a completely new meaning and is responsible for empowering consumers in ways that previously no one thought possible.
Those of us with smartphones are used to checking on everything that affects our daily lives, including how many steps we have taken that day. Now, according to Mintel research, 48% of global consumers would be interested in an app that could monitor skin appearance, such as pigmentation, size of moles etc.
Skin devices are starting to come onto the market from niche technology companies, rather than beauty. For example, Bia Skin Analyzer monitors skin hydration, oil levels and temperature, UV, humidity and gives suggestions to the user on what skincare they need in real time.
Another is OKU, from crowd-sourced start-up mySkin, and claims to be the first iPhone connected device that looks below the skin to map oiliness, elasticity and moisture. The virtual coach will advise specifically on lifestyle, diet and optimum ingredients in skincare.
Sava Marinkovich, co-founder of mySkin, spoke at the Roundtable: Smart Beauty & Consumer Empowerment, and said: “The more you scan the skin, the smarter the device becomes.” A unique feature is the partnering of each user with their “Skin Twin” – a person who shares similar skin characteristics and lifestyle and is available to ask skin-related questions, including sharing recommendations on products used.
So how smart can machines become, asked Jeb Gleason-Allured, editor-in-chief, GCI magazine and round table moderator?
“People will always need the human touch; it’s not always just about healthy skin,” admitted Marinkovich.
Insight 2: There’s Never Been a Better Time to be a Niche Brand – Especially if Looking to be Acquired
M&A activity for beauty brands peaked in 2015 with a record 65 deals completed. This represents 30% of deals over the past 5 years.
The most sought-after product category is skincare, where 33% of deals took place over the time period.
Stirling Murray, Managing Director and Founder, The Red Tree, commented: “There is tremendous opportunity for brands properly positioned and who know what they’re doing.”
Stirling maintains that starting a new beauty brand is an attractive proposition for young people who prefer to be in charge of their own destiny rather than be part of corporate life.
But it’s not just young people starting new beauty brands. “It’s rare to find someone over 55 working for major corporations,” observed Stirling. “The opportunity for someone with great experience to start their own business after this age is enormous. Most successful entrepreneurs are over 55 – they’ve learnt the hard way and are reaping the rewards.”
Helen Miller, Managing Director, Helen Miller Consulting, whose buying experience includes over 20 years at Boots, gave in-depth advice to new and niche brands looking to break into retail.
Helen warned that one of the biggest downfalls of brands new to retail is that they do not plan sufficiently past year one.
Too often, they are pleased to be offered extended distribution in year two before the first year sales have been made. Furthermore, they get caught out by all kinds of additional costs from the retailer e.g. listing fees, promotional funding, retail funding.
It can be a big shock to be delisted in year three. “The brand is perceived as a failure, not the distribution strategy,” explained Helen.
She advised a proper distribution strategy based on research into what each retailer requires and how they operate. This can help avoid many of the pitfalls that new brands will inevitably encounter.
Insight 3: It’s Definitely Cool to Be Old
When Antoinette van den Berg, Founder of Future-Touch announced at the in-cosmetics 2014 show that the industry will see the end of anti-ageing products and that “it will be cool to be old”, her comments were met with smiles of disbelief.
At this year’s show, Antoinette was back with proof that her predictions were not as outlandish as they seemed. Older models, such as Helen Mirren and 94-year old Iris Apfel, are defiantly representing beauty brands and Antoinette thinks there will be more.
“Plastic surgery is creating a beauty ideal that makes women all look like Barbie dolls with eyes and lips that are too big and out of proportion. Icons like Donatella Versace end up looking foolish.”
The change is already happening, according to Antoinette: “We are starting to see a blur of marketing groups and a move away from extreme beauty to something more authentic.”
For more details on the Marketing Trends presentation programme, go to: