[special report] Beauty for All 2017-2018

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In the beauty market of 2018 and beyond, the brands that will survive will have to forge emotional connections with their consumers, leverage natural and “clean” formulations, foster wellness and increasingly use digital tools and platforms to scale their businesses.

These were the key takeaways from this year’s in-depth beauty industry briefing hosted by CEW in New York City, featuring Sarah Jindal, senior innovation and insight analyst, beauty and personal care, Mintel; Larissa Jensen, executive director, beauty industry analyst, NPD Group; and Jordan Rost, vice president, consumer insights, Nielsen. Additional cited data was derived from Tribe Dynamics.

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Beauty in 2018 means the end of demographics as we know them. Sarah Jindal, senior innovation and insight analyst, beauty and personal care, Mintel, explained that marketing is shifting away from traditional demographic breakdowns in order to reach consumers based on their holistic profile.

This change reflects societal realities. For instance, Mintel reported that 62% of Canadian consumers 18 to 34 agree it is acceptable for people to experiment with gender, pointing to a new outlook on how shoppers are conventionally segmented.

Further reading: Inclusive Beauty.

Diversifying Tones

According to Mintel data, 40% of US makeup users aged 25 to 34 are frustrated by products that don’t match their skin tone. 

Meanwhile, Nielsen data shows that the “nude” cosmetics category fell 5.7% last year, reflecting need for more diverse shades for skin tones. Jordan Rost, vice president, consumer insights, Nielsen, added that the growth rate of color options has outpaced that of new product development. In fact, the number of available shades jumped from 542 in 2013 to 679 in 2017.

Fenty generated $72 million in earned media value in its first month.


At the same time, said Rost, searches for “foundation for me” have more than doubled over the last four years.

Brands have responded, notably with the launch of the Fenty Beauty collection, which tackled tones for underserved skin tones, while Revlon has recruited a more diverse array of spokespeople, including Adwoa Aboah and Imaan Hammam, for its Live Boldly campaign.

According to Tribe Dynamics data cited by NPD, Fenty generated $72 million in earned media value in its first month, announcing it as a new beauty leader and inspiring other brands, including Kylie Cosmetics, to expand their tonal ranges.

Expanding Representation

Consumers, who are more skeptical of marketing than ever, now expect brands to be more honest and real. CVS, for instance, has pledged that it will use its CVS Beauty Mark program to end the airbrushing of ads for its beauty products. 

Meanwhile, Revlon’s Live Boldly campaign, cited above, also featured Ashley Graham, a so-called plus-sized model, signaling, like the Glossier Body Hero campaign, that all body types must be represented in today’s branding.

CoverGirl and Maybelline have likewise expanded the spectrum of ages, ethnicities and body types represented in their campaigns, while Rimmel London recently partnered with influencer Lewys Ball, its first male spokesperson.

Further reading: CoverGirl's reinvention.

Men continue to offer opportunities for brands. According to Nielsen data, men’s share of beauty conversations on Instagram is growing slowly, but steadily, and now stands at about 14%, led by discussions of skin peels and Botox.

Jindal noted that savvy marketers are redefining aging and other consumer aspects toward a more meaningful goal of happiness, rather than relying on conventional physical demographics.

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