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Beauty is in the Eye of the Trendsetter

By: Marie Ollagnier and Juliana Feitosa
Posted: August 28, 2012, from the September 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.

As marketers, our job is to know what the consumer wants. But in a world where popular tastes can change in less time than it takes to download the latest digital video, staying connected with all of the current trends can be a daunting task. Adding to the challenge is the time-consuming process of developing, manufacturing and promoting a product to respond to an emerging need, and then getting that product to market as quickly as possible.

Thankfully, some trends are more than just passing fads. These are the trends that are truly revolutionizing the world and permanently changing our lives. The Internet, social media networks and mobile technology are a few examples. Connecting, sharing and posting online is now an integral part of who we are, and virtual interaction is becoming just as prevalent as personal interaction. We would never go back to the way things were just a few years ago.

The key to successful marketing is to understand how these major changes are affecting consumer demands and decisions now and over the long run. Certain global macrotrends, all related to the electronic revolution, are leaving their mark on the beauty industry, and the following is a discussion of three of the most important trends and their impact on global markets.

The Citysumer

Cities are growing in all parts of the world as individuals flock to them seeking better jobs and greater income. Along with this change in lifestyle comes increasing exposure to enhanced products and services. Rural areas also are becoming more urbanized, as social media, mass production and the expansion of distribution channels are bringing rural residents many of the same opportunities as their urban compatriots.

Today’s “citysumers” have a dynamic lifestyle. They are surrounded by an endless variety of entertainment options such as bars, restaurants, movie theaters, concerts and exhibitions. Constantly connected to their smartphones, they are influenced greatly by what is said by their friends and those they follow on social networks. Upcoming technologies, such as digital walls and screens enabling on-the-go virtual shopping, will put even more innovation at their fingertips.

This trend is affecting both the developed and developing regions of the world. According to the International Telecommunication Union, 86.7% of people worldwide had a mobile phone subscription in 2011, for a total of about 6 billion subscriptions globally, including 4.5 billion subscriptions in the developing world.

But people are paying a price for their hectic urban lifestyle. Citysumers can spend hours each day stuck in traffic or squeezed into public transportation. They have to deal with noise, pollution and stress, and they seem to never have enough time to devote to their work, home, family and themselves. They value anything that helps them save time, so they seek multifunctional products and convenient packaging. Citysumers demand efficiency and performance with instant gratification. They desire visible results at a faster rate, and those results must last longer.

In addition, the city is a very harsh environment. Residents must protect themselves from harmful conditions, which can cause damage to hair and skin. Stress, both physical and emotional, can result in hormonal and emotional imbalances, premature aging and a weakened immune system. Therefore, products tailored for the urban lifestyle should enhance the natural defenses of the hair and skin while soothing frayed nerves after a stressful day.

As a result of the harsh conditions and hectic lifestyle, citysumers desire products that bring comfort and allow them to experience sensations outside of their daily routine. They enjoy relaxing and enhancing their moods with products that deliver psychological benefits and sensations of peace.


As a side effect of the influx of people to urban environments, consumers are seeking to escape the breakneck pace of the cities whenever they can. This trend manifests itself in the desire to maintain close contact with nature and health, and to pursue ethical and responsible care. Consumers are stating their preference for companies that care about others, act in socially responsible ways, and minimize the negative impact of their products and services on the environment.

According to a survey conducted by StrategyOne, about 80% of consumers in emerging markets expect brands to support a cause. In China and India specifically, 79% think brands should be socially responsible.