The Skincare Market is Changing. Is Your Business Ready?


In the 24 years that I've reported on premium beauty, I’ve never witnessed as much change, as is currently occurring right now, in the skincare market.

For years, skincare brands have adhered to the classic 'cleanse, tone, moisturise' mantra, which has worked well as both educator and sales driver.

By encouraging women to care for their skin through the use of a short regime of products, it's been a highly effective method for driving them into retail outlets in search of the latest and greatest formulations.

However, nothing lasts forever and things are now changing. Fast.

Women are Far More Knowledgeable Now

There is so much more information available now than ever before and women are using it to educate themselves beyond the foundation stone of 'cleanse, tone and moisturise'.

Women’s Skincare Routines are Changing

The truth is, most women never did get on with the idea of 'cleanse, tone, moisturise' and have always mixed and matched products to suit their needs.In other words, they have been customising skincare as long as there have been the products available to do so.Yet, cast around at the most popular skincare brands and you will find that most take a traditional prescriptive approach to selling products.

Their main focus is on cleansing and moisturising, the backbone of skincare regimes, but this is not where sales growth is happening.I’m not convinced that these brands are fully engaging with their customers’ changing skincare needs.

So, as part of preparation for our new skincare report, out later this month, we surveyed 1,000 women to see what they thought.

The results confirm that women are seeking new skincare approaches that are more in line with their specific needs.

The question is what are the implications of this behaviour and how do you use it to help define a more relevant brand strategy?One way may be to look East.

K-Beauty: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Everywhere I look, beauty editorial is devoted to products that have made it big in Korea.

It’s reached fever pitch, but the trend has, of course, been happening for some years. Just not at such a rapid rate.It was only 6 years ago, the Korean BB cream trend took the UK skincare industry by storm. Surprising most brands in the process, it took several years for the trickle of launches to become a flood.

Since then, the beauty industry has been nervously anticipating the next big trend to come out of Korea.Or has it?

Most of the East-West innovation in skincare (sheet masks, skin boosters, essences and emulsions) has originated from niche brands, some Korean, some not. e.g. L’Occitane & Erborian.So where do the major skincare players stand on this important trend?

A few are expanding their offer with Korean-inspired products. The majority remain focused on anti-ageing moisturisers and treatments. A category that is looking more and more tired and irrelevant.

Look Before You Leap

I called on Asian experts, Florence Bernardin, owner Information et Inspiration and Anna-Marie Solewij, Co-Founder, BeautyMART, to share their views on the very latest trends in K-Beauty and likely impact on the UK market.

It was not as I expected.

The lazy marketers’ approach would be to replicate what is successful in Korea for the UK market. However, both Florence and Anna-Marie warn of the pitfalls and challenges facing skincare brands looking to steal a piece of the action.In the Skincare Report we investigate the major issues:

  • Will the 10-step skincare routine, practised by many Korean women, catch on over here?

  • What about EU compliancy? Will brands be forced to reformulate for Western markets?

  • Does it make more sense to buy into a Korean skincare brand with a view to launch it in Western markets?

  • Or should skincare brands launch their own K-Beauty versions?

The Skincare Report is part 2 of the Premium Market Report series of in-depth sector studies.It launches on Monday 20th June and takes a deep dive into these issues and more.

To get a more detailed overview of what’s included in the report click here.

Photo by Jonathan Kos-Read