3 Key Beauty Industry Trends to Watch in 2013


We’re delighted to welcome back industry commentator Stirling Murray, who shares his predictions for 2013. Stirling has over 30 years’ international experience of building business and brands in the global beauty industry. He runs The Red Tree, a consultancy specialising in beauty and personal care markets that also manages brands on behalf of international companies.

Trend One: Beauty Devices

Sales of beauty devices (note how they are no longer called appliances - far too similar to kettles and toasters!) will likely continue to grow rapidly.

The market research group Kline predicted that the category is set for major growth and particularly so in Europe which has lagged behind both the US and Japan in consumer acceptance. We are seeing and will see even more salon only machinery available in consumer friendly formats as the ability to technologically replicate the performance of expensive equipment at a low price grows.

Will there be a limit to if and how a consumer will use a home beauty device? It poses an interesting question for salons and spas. To grow they will have to expand their offer to target younger clients and seek ways to deliver other elements of health and beauty including nutrition and exercise as clients abandon expensive salon machinery based treatments.

Trend Two: Beauty Brand Bundling

One area where the professional sector can excel and retain client loyalty is in “brand bundling” a step further in sophistication and technique from the retail idea of linked sales. A brand bundle is a therapeutic or diagnostic device, a consumable cosmetic product (e.g. skincare) and a service.

Each part of the brand bundle reinforces the other with the opportunity to provide personalisation for a client. We are seeing the realisation of this with Tria partnering Rodial and sooner or later with the newly acquired Clarisonic with L’Oreal brands. All will be tied in with a salon or spa service that makes devices more personalised with a focus on the efficacy of the brand bundle to provide more than its separate parts.

Trend Three: The Internet

I love this quote from Tyler Cowen, the American economist and author, “My view of the internet is that it is way overrated in what it’s done to date but way underrated in what it will do.

”Now that is scary. We’ve just seen the loss of 11,000 jobs and the closure of countless high street stores with the fall of Comet, Jessops and HMV as customers switch shopping habits. How interesting that Burberry, voted the most connected brand in luxury by digital think tanks and technology specialists has almost doubled its revenue in 10 years. What about Zaggora, whose CEO Malcolm Bell, is the key note speaker at the Beauty Symposium on 5th March www.thebeautysymposium.com? In 15 months he has got more followers on Facebook than Boots, picked up the award for E Commerce Strategy of 2012 and grown a business from zero to a seven figure revenue. And almost all achieved through social media.

One of the first things we ask any company The Red Tree works with is: “what is your web strategy?” The second question (if they have a web strategy as even now there are companies that don’t!) is “how can you increase your sales on line?” This requires a constant source of fresh thinking because what worked last year will deliver similar or worst results. Growth will not come by doing more of the same.

The internet is of course changing the way all of us shop and purchase. I often hear that consumers love to touch, smell and feel beauty products.  Very true – and then they order the products online.  Just as I did recently when ordering the products I wanted from the brands web site. Delivered in 3 days with a little gift and a hand written note from the packer thanking me and hoping I will enjoy the products. Nice emotional touch.

The challenge now for all beauty retailers is how to make shopping exciting, how to offer a different shopping experience and how to give consumers a “real” reason to buy now.

And that “real” reason is nothing to do with what the retailer wants but is all to do with what the customer wants.  That’s why a company who had zero retail outlets ten years ago is now, according to RetailSails, a US consultancy, the world’s highest earning retailer per square metre. No one even comes close and who is it? Apple! Cash register free so no queuing to pay, eager to serve staff, high design environment, no barriers between staff and customer and highly enthused brand ambassadors. 2013 will see retailers embrace Apple’s retail ideas.

One brand to watch in 2013 is the Dollar Shave Club. Changing very quickly the way men buy razors and soon to launch in the UK.  As someone famous once said, “we live in interesting times.”