Global beauty and personal care recorded dynamic 6% value growth in current terms in 2018. The shift towards trading up and premiumisation continues globally. However, changes in the perceptions of premium attributes are allowing the mass segment to narrow the gap by offering high-quality solutions and value-added characteristics, such as health and ethical claims.
Digital is the conduit for taboo-busting health dialogue
The advent of the internet gave rise to open dialogue that has softened the shame around issues such as illness and fertility, and also the rise of direct-to-consumer selling models and telehealth. This has been a catalyst for change, allowing consumers to discover in private, shielded from judgement for the first time.
At the intersection of health and wellness, the market is now awash with innovations, from hormone-adapting skincare to hipster hair loss treatments, direct to the purchaser’s door.
Declining brand power liberates industry from price constraints
The blurring of the distinction between health and beauty is freeing the industry from a culture embedded in vanity and luxury. Today’s status symbols are health and good intentions, which, as a marketing message, is much easier to convey at any price point.
Results from Euromonitor International’s Beauty Survey reflect this, in that consumers are almost a third more likely to be willing to pay more for “proven efficacy” than for a so-called “premium formulation”, highlighting the loss of potency in “premium” claims.
Reclaiming male self-care in a new era of normalisation
For decades, marketing sought to reassure men of their right to groom without threatening their masculine identity. With the role of the male in society changing, and social media and direct-to-consumer models facilitating open conversation and a safe space to discover and purchase, the stigma is being reduced.
Brands are now able to replace persuasion tactics with a focus on the function and benefits of the products and routines. Likewise, shaving no longer needs to be the default gateway for brands, as gender fluidity and Asian influences normalise the use of make-up amongst men.
From green to blue beauty: Paying back environmental debt
Claims such as zero-waste, waterless and reef-safe are now firmly etched on the minds of both brands and consumers. There is, however, a growing acknowledgment that the production of waste and the use of water cannot be eliminated entirely. Steps to improve environmental footprint are progressing at a rapid pace, but such initiatives do not erase the damage.
The term “blue beauty” was coined by the founder of online retailer Beauty Heroes, who believes that the industry should not only be offsetting existing damage but also paying or giving back. Through initiatives such as planting trees or investing in ocean clean-ups, the concept supports putting businesses into credit in the environmental bank, rather than simply paying off the overdraft.
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