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Key Learnings from In-Cosmetics Latin America 2016

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Guilherme Machado Bio

In-Cosmetics Latin America 2016 - the only exhibition exclusively dedicated to personal care ingredients in the region - took place in São Paulo on October 5th and 6th.  Over 200 exhibitors of ingredients, fragrances, lab equipment, testing, and regulatory solutions got reunited to showcase new approaches to areas such as product developments and ingredients.

The Marketing Trends Room – one of the most visited at the event – had on total 19 presentations covering a variety of content. However, three major themes emerged as most relevant and commonly explored by the speakers: changes in consumers’ profile, new definition of sustainability, and experientialism.

Changes in consumers’ profile: the emerge of ‘masstige’ products

The middle class in emerging countries is changing. According to Fernando Cruz, from Euromonitor International, as general life conditions in the region improves, consumers are becoming more educated and gradually achieving increments on purchase power. For the industry, this change was reflected as a need of a new product position. Hence, the flourishment of ‘masstige’ products: a fusion of prestige products at a mass price point.

The ‘masstige’ concept translates exactly how consumers' demands have gained sophistication without neglecting the affordability. New categories, such as BB and CC creams, became more in demand during this new era of higher level benefits provided by products due to somewhat lower prices - and easily found in any point of sales. Just to have an idea, BB/CC Creams increased 130% from 2010 to 2015 in Latin America!

Sustainability in the spotlight

Consumers are also becoming more engaged with a deeper comprehension of the products and environmental impacts through its supply chain. Seven different specialists discussed the rise of natural cosmetics marketing. And traceability was the key word mentioned by all them.

Understanding the supply chain have gained over the last years more importance in consumer's purchase decision. However, this evaluation is gradually becoming more profound: consumers are now more interested in raw ingredients used, their origins and extraction methods, and even details of the processing procedures, such as the role of each company involved and conditions of employment.

‘Green’ statements that have been accepted in the past are no longer adequate for consumers.  For example, social inclusion - especially with the workforce of collectors in Amazonian communities – has been a theme widely used by many companies to indicate to consumers support for sustainability causes. However, such claim does not explain the real social impacts (either positive or negative) caused by the cosmetic manufacturers in those regions.

According to Cristiane Moares, from Union for Ethical Biotrade (UEBT), "to support the sustainability in the productive chain is to include people in the theme of biodiversity". Thus, companies that use natural or organic ingredients – and consequently seen as ‘sustainable’ - are being confronted with topics such as eradication of slavery, decrease of pollution emissions, and banishment of child work.  Now, they need to gain the trust of each stakeholder before claiming to be sustainable by assuring that those themes are cohesively connected.

A positive case study was presented by Clélia Angelon, founder of Surya (a Brazilian vegan manufacturer that exports for 40 countries). She proudly mentioned the refusal of many commercial partnerships that contradict the company’s values. As many consumers are still unaware of the effects of artificial ingredients, Clélia perceives to be the company’s duty to bring these subjects to the spotlight with a critic view about the common sense consumption.

Since 2000´s, a new mindset has showed sustainability to be ‘good business’. The launch of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices have indicated higher resilience and even stronger growth pace among sustainable companies. Such concerns about being labeled sustainable are associated with reputational benefits with investors, but also with impacts of public opinion scandals related to bad suppliers conditions or polluted nature resources. These scandals can lead to consumers’ rejection and many times a hurried search for new suppliers, causing serious impacts the in the manufacturers costs structure.

Experientialism: accumulating less, living more

The hottest presentations during In-Cosmetics Latin America 2016 have a common word: experience. From products derived from paradisiac islands offering different flavors, smells, and textures to beauty treatments using natural food to promote a reconnection with nature, consumers are less material-oriented and more inclined to experientialism.

Focusing on experiences is commonly associated with millennials and can be interpreted as a response to a trend called "Stuffocation", the feeling of being overwhelmed by the stuff one accumulated. The evolvement of consumerism in recent years have reached its limit for some urban groups around the globe and the minimalism can be seen as a growing trend in cosmetics. For example, it has been observed a growing demand for new products containing just one or few ingredients as they are perceived to be smoother, more sustainable and better alternatives to objectively treat each issue at a time.

And the innovations in the industry escape the obviousness and gains space in the gastronomy and fashion industries as well. The term "cosmétique d'auteur" brings a new perspective on how sophisticated it can get as chefs' present desserts with collagen, anti-aging soups, and anti-oxidant salads.  In Asia – region known to be the most dynamic source of inputs for beauty -  this connection between culinary with the manipulation of molecules extracted from soy and rice for moisturizing properties brings novelties such as anti-aging gin and beer that also contains collagen.

As active wear is already a solid concept among sport-lovers, active make-up - created to be used while exercising - was presented as a watch-out trend as it has potential to become more important in Latin America in the next years. In other words, consumers can expect blushes, moisturizers, and a whole range of products resistant to sweat.

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