Lifestyle shifts have changed Australians’ purchasing behaviour, inspiring them to make more mindful purchasing decisions. Priorities are being reassessed, paving the way for new product attributes, including ethical and experiential credentials.
According to Euromonitor’s Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyles Survey 2021, Australians want to find ways to simplify their lives; they prefer buying brands that share their ethos and they tend to prioritise experiences over things.
Source: Euromonitor Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyles Survey 2021
The following themes explain the ongoing changes influencing the Australian industry that business leaders need to understand to succeed.
Slow beauty movement
Slow beauty focusses on beauty rituals, using fewer - but better - products, and has gained relevance in Australia, supporting growth of premium beauty. The movement is popular as it goes hand-in-hand with sustainability and a more mindful approach to consumption.
Appreciating the slower pace of life they led as a result of the pandemic, many Australians are now adopting a back-to-basics attitude, in which they aim to focus more on essential priorities and stop worrying about peripheral concerns. Indeed, 59% of survey respondents say they are seeking ways to simplify their lives, while 33% say they try to lead a minimalist lifestyle, not buying new items unless absolutely necessary (Euromonitor Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyles Survey 2021).
Niche domestic brands are responding to the slow beauty movement through different initiatives, such as certifications, higher transparency, better packaging and ingredients, as well as more hybrid products. For example, companies like Alpha-H not only use clean ingredients and local sourcing but also invest in their manufacturing process to limit their total footprint by using solar panels, recycled material in packaging and converting inorganic waste into compost. Others, such as local B Corporation Bear, have invested in conservation programmes, offsetting their CO₂ emissions and aiming to achieve full circularity in packaging.
With businesses under pressure to take a positive and active role in protecting people and the planet, many are embracing sustainability to enhance brand reputation, comply with legislation and build back better after the Coronavirus pandemic.
Diversity and inclusion
Diversity and inclusion, which refers to the traits and characteristics that make people unique and the behaviours and social norms that ensure people feel welcome, has also gained relevance in 2021. Australia is one of the world’s most multicultural nations, with almost a third of residents born overseas. This has fueled demand for products and services targeting a range of cultures and ethnicities, with 60% of Australians believing that international products are more readily available than they were five years ago.
In beauty, Australian supermarkets, Woolworths and Coles, have been prompted to add a more diverse range of colours for cosmetics. Other retailers have taken a proactive stance, with companies such as beauty specialist retailer Adore Beauty launching the Global Shades initiative in March 2021, to increase its range of foundation and concealer shades. New brands, such as All Shades Matter, have also launched in response to this trend. Others industry players like Jurlique are using models of all ages without any photo editing, to showcase their skin care range in their Redefining Ageing campaign, whilst embracing authenticity.
Source: Courtesy of Jurlique
Diversity and inclusivity has become a powerful marketing tool, transcending conventional archetypes, redefining perceptions and widening the core consumer base, as body-positive, gender-neutral and age-inclusive are the vehicles for a growing number of brands to connect with different cohorts, particularly Gen Z consumers.
The Experience More megatrend, where consumers engage directly with a product or service and, in return, receive an enhanced and unique interaction with the brand, continues to influence retailing in Australia. Businesses are investing to provide a value-added experience, with many using immersive and multi-sensory experiences to better engage with consumers through different channels.
With Australian borders closed for over two years and multiple snap lockdowns during this time, Australians want more memorable experiences now they are finally venturing out of COVID restrictions. In fact, Euromonitor’s Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyles Survey 2021 indicates that 54% of respondents in Australia said they plan to increase their spending on experiences in the next 12 months.
This was further supported by the fact that physical stores were able to trade more days in 2021 than in 2020, with retailers investing in physical stores to reconnect with consumers. Retailers are moving away from transactional retail towards experiential retail, with better in-store experience providing a unique opportunity to create more meaningful engagements with customers, in a more stimulating sensory environment. For example, Aesop opened The Sensorium, a concept store offering consumers an opportunity for sensory exploration.
Source: Courtesy of Aesop
Grown Alchemist has launched The Retail Lab, offering not only its most innovative product portfolio, but also adding services to complement the overall experience, including facials, and light and drip therapy.
The Retail Lab
Source: Courtesy of Grown Alchemist
Slow beauty, diversity and experiential marketing are three of the key trends shaping beauty in Australia now, and which are set to drive demand in the future. The demanding Australian beauty consumer expects companies to meet their changing individual needs for quality and brand engagement, and also to reflect the increasing diversity of Australian society. This calls for a strong brand stance that inspires confidence and pushes industry boundaries to create more engaging, meaningful and inclusive narratives, alongside fostering accessibility and purpose.
For further insight, Euromonitor’s latest research, analysis and market data on Beauty and Personal Care in Australia is available now. Reports on all 100 research countries for beauty and personal care are available to download here.