Since 1996, the prestige beauty industry has relied on NPD’s comprehensive beauty market research and business solutions to deliver insights into what is selling, where, why, and at what price. Our research includes information for the U.S., Canada, France, Italy, Mexico, Spain, and U.K. beauty markets. It helps companies address the emerging trends, needs, and behaviors of the next generation of beauty consumers.
We monitor global beauty industry trends – from the “big picture” down to the category, geographic region, and store levels. We can even help you look for opportunities or evaluate pricing strategies.
How do we do it? We bring our robust data assets, along with our industry expertise, and combine them with your data or third-party data to find solutions to your business issues.
Scentiments is a new suite of consumer insights on fragrances and scented products that delivers a robust view of consumers, their attitudes and lifestyles, and shopping and usage behaviors. Brands and retailers use this information to guide product, point-of-sale, and marketing strategies that resonate with consumers and drive growth. Enhanced by our fragrance experts’ industry knowledge and keen insights, Scentiments offers the industry the most comprehensive understanding of the U.S. fragrance consumer.
Learn More About Scentiments
Store-Level Enabled Retail Tracking
Store-Level Enabled Retail Tracking complements BeautyTrends®. It can help you determine whether sales are distribution-driven or whether certain parts of the country are contributing more to national share or driving growth. The velocity measure set that is part of Store-Level Enabled Retail Tracking takes into consideration sales volume (Annualized Industry Volume or AIV) rather than considering store count alone, for a more meaningful read on where products are selling and how they are performing.
BeautyTrends® is the point-of-sale (POS) tracking service measuring the performance of fragrances, makeup, and skincare products. SKU-level detail is captured monthly for more than 75 product categories. Channels reported on include prestige department stores, mid-tier national chain, fine department stores, TV/shopping, and dot-com/Internet pureplay retailers. Evaluate purchasing trends so you can make better business decisions and take full advantage of emerging opportunities across these key channels.
Fragrance data is also available on a weekly basis. Having a faster read on what’s happening in the marketplace is essential for tracking new launches – during the holiday season and all year round.
Beauty Cross Channel Monitor
NPD and Nielsen have partnered to produce the Beauty Cross Channel Monitor. This comprehensive report on the beauty market provides the only total market view spanning both the prestige and mass channels. The Beauty Cross Channel Monitor combines Nielsen and NPD point-of-sale data across a range of retail channels, providing a precise read on sales and performance for all beauty categories including dollar sales, unit sales, and average retail price, in addition to a ranking of the top 75-100 brands. Brand marketers can evaluate the performance of categories, segments, and brands across major beauty distribution channels to better understand and respond to new U.S. beauty market opportunities.
Beauty Multi-Country Topline Report
This report provides consistent, comparative, cross-country views of prestige makeup, fragrance, and skincare sales in the U.S., France, Italy, Spain, and the U.K., from a single source. It looks at the performance of top corporations, divisions, brands, categories, and segments in these key global markets. Use this report to evaluate brand performance across countries to guide marketing and product strategies, understand how product mix differs by country, and guide assortment and distribution plans.
NPD’s Analytic Solutions group includes senior leaders with extensive experience developing and delivering analytic solutions that help clients predict areas of risk and growth to improve marketing and product development. By combining NPD’s unique data assets and industry expertise with state-of-the-discipline research techniques and proprietary solutions, our Analytic Solutions team is able to answer clients’ most pressing business questions.
Ready to take the lead position in your skincare categories? The new 2017 Women’s Facial Skincare Consumer Report features the information and expert insights you need to outmaneuver your competition.
Spending expectations. Attitudes toward spending on beauty. Shopping dynamics. Emotional motivators. And more. Now you can explore the consumer mindset related to beauty and today’s economic reality in the 2015 edition of the Annual Beauty Consumer Economic Indicator Report. The report covers the impact of today’s economy on beauty spending, featuring select data originally presented at our February 2015 Hot Off the Press event. Produced since 2008, the report includes comparisons between our latest insights and previous years’ findings.
The U.S. prestige beauty industry reached $17.7 billion in 2017, a 6 percent increase over 2016*, according to global information company The NPD Group. At the forefront, the skincare category grew its sales by 9 percent and contributed 45 percent of the industry’s total gains; makeup followed with a 6 percent increase in sales, and fragrance closed the year up 4 percent.
Attention is centering on makeup and fragrance this holiday season, as the two highly giftable beauty categories vie to capture the greatest dollar share in the U.S. prestige market. Traditionally fragrance’s place for holiday, this could be the year that makeup captures more sales, according to global information company The NPD Group.
Women in the U.S. have become increasingly selective about the ingredients in their facial skincare products over the last two years, according to Women’s Facial Skincare Consumer Report 2017* from global information company The NPD Group. The report found that 40-50 percent actively seek natural or organic ingredients in their products, and those free of ingredients including fragrances, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and gluten.
Women in the U.S. are 35 percent more likely than men to let their moods dictate the scent they will wear each day, encouraging a stronger emotional tie to fragrance than their male counterparts, according to the latest data from Scentiments*, a suite of consumer insights and tools on the U.S. fragrance industry from global information company The NPD Group. Guided by their moods, this close personal relationship leads women to be more frequently engaged with fragrance, and contemplative when it comes to deciding on the right match.
Active wear today is no longer exclusive to athletic apparel; recent growth in key makeup categories coincides with the rising popularity of makeup as the latest workout essential. In the U.S., prestige makeup sales increased by 11 percent to $7.6 billion in the 12 months ending February 2017, accounting for over 80 percent of total industry gains*, according to global information company The NPD Group. Growth in foundation, primers, eye brow, and lip color products, as well as those formulated to be long-lasting and waterproof, are playing into the trend.
The U.S. prestige beauty industry is off to a slightly slower start this holiday season, with year-to-date sales up 6 percent through October, or 1 percentage point less than this time last year, according to global information company The NPD Group; however, this should not be interpreted as discouraging news. It is a case of ‘feast or famine’ for the industry this holiday season, and while consumers may not indulge in every makeup, fragrance, and skincare category, they will have more than their fill when it comes to others.
It’s Beginning to Smell a lot like Christmas: Home Fragrance Most Important When Company is Expected, NPD Finds
In preparing their homes and minds for the holidays, and the festive family gatherings they bring, consumers turn to scent and décor to get into the holiday spirit. Home fragrance is most important to consumers when company is expected, as scents are a way of honoring their guests and ensuring they have a pleasant visit, according to Scentiments, a new suite of consumer insights and tools on the fragrance industry from global information company The NPD Group.
The Internet Surpasses Print and Broadcast Advertising as Preferred Source of Makeup Product Information, According to NPD
Defining many of the most popular, growth-driving trends in makeup today from contouring to draping, the internet went from the least-frequented source of product information four years ago, to the fastest-growing in 2016, swaying both styles and sales, according to global information company The NPD Group’s Makeup In-Depth Consumer Report 2016. More women today are looking to the internet for information on makeup products and brands, up 11 percentage points versus 2014, or more than any other information source.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends sunscreen that offers not only broad-spectrum protection and water resistance, but a Sun Protector Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. According to global information company The NPD Group, sales of prestige skincare and makeup products with any SPF reached $1.4 billion in the 12 months ending May 2016 (June’15-May’16), growing by 7 percent over the last two years. Coinciding with the AAD’s guidelines, such products with an SPF of 30 or higher are seeing the greatest growth and outpacing the total SPF market by at least twofold
While the U.S. prestige fragrance category as a whole has been experiencing increases in both dollar and unit sales, the greatest lift is coming from the $49.9 million niche of the home scents market*, according to global information company The NPD Group. The heightened popularity of prestige candles and diffusers combined with their higher price tags is driving much of the growth within fragrance.
Reliable, detailed information about skincare consumers' attitudes and motivations is a critical part of making data-driven business decisions. Now there's a way to get a winning advantage in the skincare market: the new 2017 Women's Facial Skincare Consumer Report.
Learn how Scentiments lets you deconstruct fragrance consumers’ emotions, attitudes, and preferences, to give you a clear understanding of how to market fragrances more effectively. Learn more about Scentiments.
The future of fragrance is uncertain. Consumers are engaging with scent in a different way. How can you think about scent differently to help guide messaging and product strategy, so you can elevate awareness and inspire fragrance usage?
Discover where Millennials shop for fragrance, what influences their purchase decisions, and how mood affects their fragrance choices.
There’s a lot to learn about today’s fragrance consumer. In this new video series Kissura Craft, Industry Analyst – Beauty, discusses consumer behavior, fragrance wardrobing, and how men and women interact with fragrances differently.
Fragrance is facing the challenge of continuing to engage and excite young people so they’ll wear scent daily. What will it take for fragrance to make a big comeback? Karen Grant, Global Industry Analyst – Beauty, shares her perspectives.
Fragrance usage is shifting and changing. In this new video series Karen Grant, Global Industry Analyst – Beauty, discusses why fragrance and the need for scent still matter in the beauty industry.
Sales Territory Management Tool: How a Beauty Brand’s Sales Team Improved Their ROI (and Got Bigger Bonuses)
A strong Sales function is critical to success – particularly when distribution spans multiple retailers and markets. When growth is good, management looks to the Sales teams to keep it going; when revenue slips, they’re on the front lines to reverse the slide. Our client, a leading beauty manufacturer and licensor, was experiencing a sales slowdown despite healthy category growth. The Sales team knew what had to be done, but wanted fact-based confirmation before requesting the additional resources necessary to help turn things around.
Get an inside look at one of the key features of Scentiments from The NPD Group, your source of data and insights about how consumers shop for, think about, and use scented products. This video shows how you can create customized views of survey data based on your specific needs, so you can make data-driven decisions with confidence. Learn More About Scentiments
There's a lot to learn about today's fragrance consumer, and we've compiled all the insights for you. Scentiments, our next generation of U.S. fragrance market intelligence, brings you a new perspective on consumer's emotions, attitudes, and preferences toward scented products and their fragrance purchasing process.
Insights and Opinions from our Analysts and Experts
Of the 20+ industries NPD tracks, one of the fastest growing in 2017 was the beauty industry. Sales in the U.S. were up a robust 6 percent compared the tepid, low single-digit growth in the sports industry.
I asked my colleague Larissa Jensen, NPD’s beauty industry analyst, for some thoughts on why beauty has done so well, in hopes of learning some lessons that may be applied to improving the sports business.
Here are the top five trends Larissa identified as driving the beauty industry’s successes today, and where I see the applications for sports retail:
Natural/Wellness – Natural brands are outpacing the growth of all beauty categories in the U.S. (makeup, skincare, and fragrance). In skincare specifically, natural brands are the largest brand type and made up half of the category’s dollar volume gains in 2017. In fragrance, natural brands make up only 1 percent of sales, but grew 8X faster than the category.
The sports industry has always had a strong connection to sustainability. Perhaps a renewed focus on this goal and a greater understanding of Gen Z’s interest in “clean living” could benefit sales. Brands that share the values of their consumers will win in 2018.
Indie Brands – Legacy brands are looking for ways to remain relevant in today’s market. In skincare, brands outside the top 20 make up the majority share of dollars; they are growing the fastest and gaining the most share points. But more generally, smaller brands are winning in beauty because:
- They are nimble and able to react to trends more quickly.
- They look to consumers, not other brands, for inspiration on what to launch.
- They have a clear focus and a targeted market.
I’ve written on several occasions that “small is the new big” in sports. Today’s consumer wants unique products, sold by unique retailers, made by unique brands. Mega brands must come up with ways to “act small.” Brands and retailers that try to be all things to all people will struggle. Curated assortments, clearly defined muses or niches, and fresh retail approaches will be the keys to success in 2018. No brand or retailer has gone out of business by listening more closely to their consumers.
Social Media – This is the biggest driver in makeup as it provides the biggest impact via social sharing; it’s easy to see a ‘before and after’ effect. The top 10 brands in makeup are often the most buzzed about brands on social platforms. Influencers play a big role here, and we have seen in our data how influencer collaborations typically generate more sales than the more traditional celebrity collaborations.
“Rent-a-celebrity” is starting to play itself out of sports. Athletic endorsers no longer produce significant retail results. Paid celebrities are viewed by the consumer as phony, but honest, unpaid influencers continue to have sway in the market. Peers remain the most important influencers. Brands that can harness this trend will win.
Experiential Retail – Brick-and-mortar still holds the largest share of sales, and brands need to win here to win overall. Strong online sales alone will not drive growth. Specialty stores are where consumers shop more often, enticing consumers with unique brand and product offerings in a fun retail environment. Also, we have seen an influx of pop-up and pop-in stores in high volume cities including NY, LA, and San Francisco, which allow manufacturers to immerse the consumer in their brand experience, and provide Instagrammable photo ops for consumers to share on social media.
Retailers need to “surprise and delight” their customers. Retail stores that look the same, visit over visit, are uninspiring. Products, brands, and retailers must tell exciting and provocative stories to attract consumers and get them returning to their stores.
Beauty specialty stores are particularly hot right now. Some feature a “mass to class” product lineup, and offer sampling add-ons, and hair and nail services. Consumers can spend hours in these stores and share that experience with their friends. Sports retailers must think about how they can replicate this kind of experience.
Dotcom – This area of the beauty market has seen double-digit growth since NPD began tracking it. At the highest level it’s about convenience across all categories, but the dynamics of online differ by category. In fragrance, where penetration is the lowest, it’s about replenishment. In skincare, where online penetration is highest, it’s about easy access to online reviews, providing consumers the confidence to purchase this more complicated and higher price-point category. In makeup, replenishment and experimentation (new launches) play a role in the gains. Online only brands (like Kylie Cosmetics and ColourPop – before it went into Sephora) draw lots of excitement through social media and their limited edition strategy, leveraging the “fear of missing out” (FOMO) trend.
Footwear is one of the highest e-commerce penetrated categories. Yet, it seems that the sports industry’s online approach is purely transactional, rather than relationship building as we see in beauty. The big challenge is how to get customers to visit websites often, not just to shop but to build a relationship with the retailer or brand, as the beauty industry has done.
There are many important teachings for the sports industry to learn from beauty. In today’s retail landscape, industries cannot live strictly in their silos, but must see the bigger pictures and learn from each other. Retailers and brands that take a more progressive approach can expect success in the future.
Before the internet and social media, there were no channels for hair professionals to build trust with clients aside from in the salon. Working as a freelance hair stylist today, I have learned to incorporate elements of social media into the experience. In preparation for appointments, I ask my clients to create a private Pinterest board so that we can share ideas and overall expectations for their big day. This helps me guide conversations and understand the client’s style, to tailor my technique based on their preferences.
Much like I have modified the way I understand my clients and personalize their experience, direct-to-consumer hair care brands are changing the traditional hair industry. These brands are redefining the new age of hair, with trust and expertise remaining the focus.
Today, the beauty consumer expects customization and personalization from the brands they engage with. The U.S. hair category, which grew its sales a healthy 16 percent in 2017*, has looked towards personalization as a way for it to reinvent itself from the more traditional way consumers engage with the category. Hair care brand Function of Beauty is a prime example of a brand that’s leveraging this strategy. They pride themselves on their mission statement: “We celebrate you as the unique individual that you are; who you are and what you want - beyond your hair type, goals and preferences.” This type of messaging communicates “me” to the consumer, demonstrating that each customer has his/her own unique wants and needs as opposed to serving up a “one size fits most” product portfolio. Function of Beauty recognizes that consumers “should have ownership and choice” with the products they use. Consumers are instructed to create a hair profile on the brand’s website that consists of answering a series of questions including hair type and structure, scalp moisture, and desired hair goals. As consumers move through the questionnaire, the brand offers a number of options for them to select the color and desired scent of their shampoo and conditioner. The final touches include the consumer’s name printed on his/her custom created shampoo and conditioner bottle.
While Function of Beauty incorporates consumer profiling in their positioning, a younger brand is taking this strategy to the next level. Hair care brand Prose uses a proprietary algorithm to create more than 50 million combinations of formulas geared towards a series of profiling questions. Prose recognizes how important that trust between stylist and client still is, which is why they decided to incorporate the stylists’ know-how into their business model by partnering with them to offer an in-salon consultative service along with customized product solutions. Although consumers can complete the multi-step hair analysis on their own using the brand’s website, they’re encouraged to maintain that more traditional relationship with their stylist all while utilizing the advanced consultative offering.
As technological advancements are enhancing the consumer experience within the beauty space, the hair category beyond the professional sector should look outside of traditional norms to evolve. If direct-to-consumer brands are at the forefront addressing the wants and needs of consumers by incorporating bespoke beauty offerings into their business models, brands and professionals must think beyond service, training, and product to maintain the trust-based relationships with their loyal clients.
*Source: The NPD Group / U.S Prestige Beauty Total Measured Market, January-December 2017
I once read that 90% of the decisions we make are emotional, and thinking about what will drive the beauty industry’s growth and change in the year to come, emotion is at the forefront. After all, what can be more emotional than beauty? According to NPD, eight in 10 U.S. beauty consumers purchase beauty products because they make them feel their best. Feel their best in how they look, how they interact with beauty, and the emotional connection they feel when purchasing the products. With consumers at the helm of the ship, the brands and retailers who are adjusting to meet their needs will continue to experience growth in 2018.
What can we expect in the coming year? More change, more emotional connections, and more growth.
The Ramp Up of Experiential Retail
Brands will continue to develop alternative ways to connect with their consumers. In prestige specifically, department stores have struggled to create meaningful consumer engagement as foot traffic and dollar sales experience a slowdown. Despite this challenge, the brick-and-mortar space in retail remains an important component for driving sales growth. As beauty brands look for ways to enhance interaction with their consumers in-store, the number of pop-ups, pop-ins (store in store concepts), and experience stores will accelerate, especially in high volume cities like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
Taking a Stand
Eighty-four percent of young people believe brands have more power to make change than governments. It should come as no surprise, then, that consumers are looking for brands that parallel their principals. Therefore, brands should be looking not through traditional means of unique product, but rather through strategies aligned with values and practices. Partisan branding will become more commonplace in the year ahead as consumers increasingly expect brands to take a stand and align on issues that are important to them. Whether it’s the environment, community, animal rights, or anything in between, brands that find ways to connect with consumers on these ideals in an authentic way can expect continued growth.
Luxury Beauty will be Redefined
Hubert de Givenchy once said, “Luxury is in each detail.” Yet, we have seen over the past year how the cornerstones of luxury – service, exclusivity, and personalization – are being challenged in retail, product, and experience. We can expect more of this in 2018. The fact is that consumers no longer need to pay the high price tag to receive many of the perks of a luxury product. This is not to say that traditional luxury is obsolete, but it will change. Within the luxury price-point specifically, new trends will continue to emerge that showcase consumer values in a bigger way.
As we head into the year ahead, the biggest and most definitive thing we can all expect in the beauty industry is change. While this has been a catalyst for many brands and retailers in beauty, it has left others in a space of uncertainty. But as the past few years have shown us, our industry is especially adaptable to change. And it is because of change, and all the emotion we tie into our decisions, that beauty has been at the forefront of growth across many industries, and will continue to succeed in the year to come.
Walking through the beauty departments of a wide variety of retailers this past week, I was overwhelmed by the choices available to me for gifting beauty. So many adorable options! Lip glosses, body lotions, candles, and so much more showcased in super fun, sparkly, and festive packaging. Even though my Christmas shopping was done, the temptation to buy one of these charming beauty gifts was near impossible to resist. But budgets being what they are, resist I did.
The temptation to buy beauty gifts--for ourselves or others--is one that many consumers are giving into in droves. While this holiday season has been somewhat of a disappointment for several industries thus far (including apparel, technology, sports and, yes, even the proverbial toy industry), beauty has stood out as a clear winner over the past few holiday weeks.
In fact, weekly sales of makeup, skincare, and fragrance in the U.S. have been consistently strong since NPD began tracking the 2017 holiday season in early November. While the first week of November started out slow, with a 3 percent gain for beauty, week 2 experienced a 15 percent increase and weeks 3 and 4 have seen beauty sales really take off, posting the strongest gains of all the industries NPD is tracking this holiday.
Digging deeper into the weeks, week 2 performance was driven by fragrance, specifically gift sets. Week 3 was strong for makeup and skincare sets. Fragrance overall was soft in performance week 3, but fragrance sets featuring home scents experienced a surge in sales. This is likely due to how these types of fragrance sets (typically candle and reed diffuser sets) are often merchandised and promoted in stores as popular hostess gifts as we head into the holiday party season. Speaking of holiday parties, lip gloss and false eyelashes – two beauty staples when glamming it up – were standout performers in week 3 as well. In week 4, which included Black Friday, beauty grew a staggering 17 percent, led by makeup, followed by skincare, and then fragrance.
As my holiday store tours this past week have revealed, it’s clear to see how this new beauty holiday pecking order has established itself. Makeup has proven itself to be a fun and relatively low cost, highly giftable category over the past few holiday seasons with 2017 being no exception. And with skincare increasingly front and center during holiday as well, it remains to be seen how fragrance will fare with the other beauty categories competing so strongly for its critical holiday dollars.
Regardless of how the remainder of the holiday season pans out for each of the individual categories (don’t count fragrance out yet!), it’s safe to say that beauty has been a standout industry in 2017 – for holiday and throughout the entire year.
Traditionally, skincare has not been the most giftable beauty category. Aside from me, not many dream of opening a holiday present to reveal a cleanser and moisturizer in a pretty package. Skincare can be complicated and women may not always know what they need. This makes for a major hurdle to cross when competing against the more sparkly makeup and sentimental fragrance categories for those important holiday dollars.
Consumers want brands to make understanding skincare easy for them. One-quarter of U.S. women recently surveyed by NPD said they prefer to purchase skincare as a regimen or kit.* Purchasing regimens provides the consumer with a trial period to see how the products purchased affect their skin. Some retailers have started to capitalize on this. Sephora’s Favorites sets, or boxes that contain a multitude of brands centered on a theme, are released periodically throughout the year. While in the past there has been more attention on curating boxes for fragrance and makeup, this year a few of their skincare boxes sold out within a day of going on sale. Picking the right theme, such as “Superfoods” or “Beauty Remedies,” has been key to the retailers’ success, and manufacturers are taking note.
A slew of brands debuted gift sets this year by curating their own theme. Skincare for makeup lovers, skincare to create a glow, and giftable sets that contain a full size mask along with a trial size regimen focusing on a particular skin issue are all selling out at specialty retailers. Sets like these put the “fun” in functional for consumers. You can purchase a prep routine for the makeup junkie in your life, or your sister’s favorite mask along with a trial size regimen from the same brand.
December, while very important to beauty, is just about 14 percent of prestige skincare’s yearly volume, according to NPD. Not surprisingly, skincare captures the smallest dollar share during the key holiday period. However, as the category continues to evolve into a more social and playful space, perhaps gifting skincare will one day become as exciting for everyone else as it is for me.
*Source: The NPD Group / Women’s Facial Skincare Consumer Report 2017
Within skincare, there has historically been a point of difference not only between mass and prestige, but also between prestige and luxury. Traditionally, luxury brands were selectively distributed in fine department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, and Barneys. Yet, the differentiators were not solely limited to distribution and higher price-points; luxury skincare also offered notable services to clients. From a one-on-one in-depth analysis of the clients’ skin issues, to facials and personal follow-up calls to enquire how the purchase was treating her, luxury had many attractive points of distinction.
Previously impenetrable in its consistent growth and contributions to the overall market, skincare priced at $100 and above has declined for the past two years*. With skincare’s drivers shifting from larger brands to smaller and more natural brands, and retail shifting to a more experiential model, the very definition of luxury has changed in consumers’ minds.
It comes as no surprise that while overall luxury skincare is trending down, natural luxury skincare is increasing at a rate of 9 percent*. According to NPD’s Women’s Facial Skincare Consumer Report 2017, 40 percent of U.S. women report that they actively seek out facial skincare products that are free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and/or gluten. This number increased by 7 points in the last two years. The brands helping to really drive this trend in the luxury space have a stronger presence in specialty stores and boutique retailers, and are able to give consumers a truly luxe feel with products encased in minimalistic glass bottles of handcrafted elixirs in small batches. Taking a page from the fine department store playbook, boutique retailers offer consumers one-on-one attention, expertise, and services beyond what a counter is able to do -- and consumers are responding; more facial skincare consumers are reporting they prefer one-on-one consultations when visiting a store.
It’s not only the smaller boutiques and specialty stores creating competition for skincare’s luxury brands. There’s also an increased focus on service and personalization, the hallmarks of luxury skincare, coming from lower priced brands. Through the end of September, St. Ives has a pop-up shop in downtown NYC, where the consumer can create a customized facial scrub and body lotion. You’re met at the front of the store by a menu specialist and personally walked through the options. Once you’ve decided on your scent, texture, and benefits, you watch as each ingredient is added to a jar that has a customized label detailing your personal choices. For $12 a jar, its service, customization, and the more fun side of skincare all wrapped up in a very inexpensive bow.
In the past, personal service and quality product was enough to give luxury an edge over prestige skincare. But with a shifting retail environment and a consumer whose definition of luxury includes technology, health services, and nutrition as part of her beauty routine, luxury skincare has to push the boundaries to remain relevant.
*Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / U.S. Prestige Beauty Total Measured Market
I am a proud Millennial. I look fondly on memories of playing with my Skip It, being obsessed with gel pens, playing MASH with my friends to find out what my future would hold, and having what seemed like a million Tamagotchi’s that all inevitably died when parenthood exhausted me. These memories are part of who I am, and also characterize my distinct recollection of times before social media and smartphones dominated our daily interactions. These memories not only impact who I am, but also what I purchase.
According to a Forbes article I read recently, “The best marketing campaigns are timely and relevant but also authentic with a strong emotional hook to capture the heart.” It only seems obvious, then, why brands leverage emotion and nostalgia within the makeup category, especially as a means of reversing makeup’s slowed growth by 9 percentage points to 5 percent.*
This emotional strategy is already taking hold. In late 2016, indie brand Storybook Cosmetics launched a collection of five makeup brushes inspired by magic wands from the Harry Potter series for $55, with a limited quantity and online-only strategy. As a fan of the book series since I was in third grade, I can understand why the brushes were quick to sell out and why the brand has amassed a total of over 9,000 consumer-generated posts on Instagram tagged #storybookcosmetics. More recently, Benefit Cosmetics launched their five-piece Benefit x Wonder Woman collection to celebrate the superhero film. The HSN-exclusive kit contains hero products (pun intended) like the Benetint Lip & Cheek Stain and They’re Real! Mascara in a Wonder Woman-inspired cosmetic bag for a steal of $49. Sticking with the movie theme, Bésame Cosmetics has recently begun teasing its upcoming September launch of the 1937 Snow White Collection that will include lipsticks, cream rouges, and lip balms with colors identical to those original animators used in the film. GlamGlow is also preparing for a nostalgic fall 2017 launch, as the brand’s GravityMud Treatment will be released in green and gold limited edition colors inspired by the Power Rangers. The nostalgic and emotional trend in makeup seems to be coming full circle as Storybook Cosmetics, notably a brand whose entire strategy leverages this trend effectively, will be launching a Mean Girls eye shadow palette this fall.
One might argue that the excitement surrounding these products lies within the fact that they are new launches. My rebuttal to this is that they represent so much more than just products. Harry Potter introduced us to a world where anything is possible; Wonder Woman and the Power Rangers taught us the power of confidence; the original Snow White instilled in us the meaning of friendship and a statement red lip; and Mean Girls represents everyone’s high school experience in one form or another. Brands like the aforementioned are leveraging these franchises in a way that not only captures our attention with intriguing product, but also resonates with us on a deeper, more emotional level. An emotional connection is, at the end of the day, what all brands strive for.
*Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / U.S. Prestige Beauty Total Measured Market, January-June 2017
As a kid, I used to watch my dad shave his face. I especially loved it when he would clap his face with aftershave, look into the mirror and say, “Damn, I’m handsome,” signaling the completion of his manly ablutions. I once watched my husband shave his face, but his ritual lacked the panache that my dad’s did. The childish merriment was gone. I later realized he didn’t do the triumphant slap of aftershave. Actually, he didn’t use aftershave at all!
Sadly, aftershave within prestige has experienced declining sales for the past few years. The last 12 months saw dollar and unit sales down -11 percent and -8 percent, respectively.* One thing that could be affecting the sales of aftershave is the rise of men sporting facial hair. It has been reported that more than half of American men ages 18-34 have a beard or stubble, and thereby not needing aftershave.** NPD’s fragrance consumer survey, Scentiments, shows that almost three in 10 men have cited that they have used more fragrance in the past year because they have a new grooming routine. The key would be getting whiskered men to incorporate something fragranced into their grooming routines.
I’ve been noticing a few brands introducing beard-related items into their lines, like beard oils and softeners. The number of introductions in the market has quadrupled since 2014. While still small in dollar sales, (less than 1 percent of the men’s prestige market), these products have increased sales by 10 percent.* Furthermore, 54 percent of men ages 18-34 want a scent that others might be able to smell on them or be barely noticeable.*** In other words, they prefer a fragrance that can only be experienced while standing within their personal space. Scented beard oils and softeners fit the bill as they are more subtle in strength.
Fragrance can certainly become more innovative by introducing new formats that will nicely dovetail with the lifestyle changes of its consumers. Changing with consumer habits is the only way we as an industry will stay current and relevant.
*Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / U.S. Prestige Beauty Total Measured Market, 12 months ending June 2017
***Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Scentiments: Scented Mind 2016
Recently, my mother broke both of her wrists and had casts from her hands to her elbows for two months. One of her main concerns was her nightly ritual of potions and lotions that my step-father was relegated to slathering on for her. Not only does she have a specific order for how to apply each of the creams, but she prefers to smooth them on in an upward motion because she would like her skin to be “lifted.”
There is a marked difference between my mother’s generation and the current gen-du-jour. My mother didn’t think about age spots or sun damage until she saw it on her skin. My 17-year old cousin, however, has never spent a day in her life without sunscreen. The transition from solution-oriented to preventative, like the shift in overall skincare, was slow and then sudden.
The question we are currently facing is: how can consumers and brands get on the same page? Industries and franchises have been built on the solution-oriented approach to aging. They have centered their personae on the premise of plumping wrinkles and lifting sagging skin. Based on NPD data, the age specialist subsegment is responsible for nearly 10 percent of total U.S. prestige skincare sales, and represents 15 percent of the facial skincare market. Age specialist declined throughout 2016 and this trend continued into the first quarter of 2017. While other subsegments like facial moisturizer have made a turnaround, age specialist still hasn’t been able to make any traction in the market and posted a $4 million decline so far in 2017.
The U.S. anti-aging market is at its tipping point. The skincare industry must strike a balance between the older consumers who are looking for skincare experts to tell them how to correct their issues, with the younger consumers who would like to understand each ingredient on the label and the reason for it being included. Younger consumers are also more likely to look at skincare as part of their wellness routine, complete with anti-aging supplements that include ingredients like collagen and hyaluronic acid.
This fundamental shift in thinking has already happened; it’s the brands that need to catch up.
One of the things that I love most about my job is that there is so much data available at my fingertips. When I’m looking for a new product to buy, I always turn to NPD data first to see what the best sellers in the category are and then determine if those products need to be added to my consideration set. This is good and bad because, for anyone who knows me, once I start looking into something I get obsessive and then need to learn everything about that product from top to bottom. I know what I like and what I buy, but what about other people? I am curious to know if I am behaving similar to the general population. And that’s how a 5 minute task last week to find out what the best-selling self-tanner is turned into a 3 hour research session on suncare products.
I shouldn’t have spent more than 5 minutes on this task, but of course my curiosity got the best of me. After seeing what the #1 and #2 best-sellers were, I needed to know if self-tanners were still a thing in Canada, and how popular they are. Surprisingly, nearly 40 per cent ($9 million) of the $23 million Canadian Prestige Suncare category can be attributed to self-tanning products. This means that for every dollar that is spent on Prestige Suncare, forty cents goes to self-tanners. This makes you wonder if anyone has an actual sun-kissed tan or if we’re all just creating that glow in the comforts of our bathrooms! I’m going to go with the latter seeing as how 30 per cent of purchases were made in the months of May and June. Seems that everyone has the same mindset I do: disguise that glow-in-the-dark pale skin before putting on that first tank top or pair of shorts for the season.
One might also wonder why it is better to fake a tan instead of getting a real one by sitting outside in the sun. Well, as we’ve heard from just about everyone and everywhere, the UV rays from the sun aren’t exactly healthy for us. In fact, tanning is a defense mechanism by our skin and is actually an indicator of sun damage. Damage from UV rays can also cause premature aging of the skin - this effect isn’t immediately apparent but slowly manifests. Education in this area has changed our usage of suncare quite a bit in the last few years. Consumers have been reaching for products that have a higher SPF rating. Last year there was an increase of +10 per cent in sunscreen sales, and all the growth came from sunscreens with an SPF rating of 45 or higher. This shift to a higher protection factor was also seen in facial moisturizers where sales of those with an SPF rating of 30 or higher grew +20 per cent and sales of those with lower SPF ratings have been flat.
Finding this info made me feel much more assured with my routine and product choices. I’m a supporter of high SPF sunscreen and reapplying throughout the day so I’m happy to see that it’s becoming the norm and not the exception. Now I just need to wait for Mother Nature to cooperate so I can show off my fake tan while I sit in the sun with my SPF 60 on.