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According to a new analyst insight article from Euromonitor beauty and personal care analyst Nicole Tyrimou, “Bespoke Services to Boost Premium Skin Care,” despite the U.K. returning to growth after a double dip recession, the global economic climate is still looking gloomy with consumers becoming increasingly careful with their spending. For premium beauty, this is a challenge that offers two choices: either create offerings at lower prices or increase perceived value for money and therefore prices. In skin care, this latter option appears to be working, with premium anti-aging experiencing a robust 8% increase in value in 2011 and being expected to see similar strong growth continue to 2016. However, with commercial mass brands such as the U.K.’s Superdrug featuring high-tech technologies and offering them to consumers for a fraction of the price, what next for luxury beauty companies?
According the article, the answer appears to be bespoke services, which, as previously mentioned by Euromonitor International, could hold the future for super premium skin care. In the U.K. in particular, luxury consumers appear to be searching for products to stress their individuality as well as seeking unique experiences. An increasing number of new technologies are thus being developed in the country, with these enabling consumers to discover the correct skin care products for their unique needs.
The Organic Pharmacy in London offers the first in-store DNA skin care test, which was developed by geneOnyx and analyzes skin from a simple saliva test before offering tailored recommendations. The anti-aging service costs £295 for a one-hour consultation and personalized skin care prescription. A global launch of this service is planned for early next year. With U.K. growth outpacing that of the larger premium anti-aging sales areas in Western Europe, namely Germany, France and Italy, the country is becoming a focus area for premium companies. Players such as La Prairie, for example, launched subsidiaries in order to further strengthen their position in the U.K. Similarly, the Ioma Beauty Diag machine is present in Harrods’ beauty hall and offers tailored recommendations from more than 800 potential formulations. This analyzes the skin after taking a series of multiple pictures and, in a few minutes, provides the customer with a skin care prescription.
The article also discusses how, taking the service experience one step further, some brands even started offering these services on a complimentary basis as part of their customer service. Murad is a cosmeceutical brand created by Dr Murad that offers its customers a complimentary skin analysis, using its YouthCam skin analysis system to help tailor product recommendations to the individual. Similarly to the Ioma machine, this takes a series of pictures of the customer’s skin and highlights any issues. With strong science values as part of its brand heritage, this service is well aligned with Murad’s philosophy on beauty and the service it provides in terms of premium anti-aging skin care.
Natural brands are also jumping on the customized services wagon, with natural skin care player MyChelle Dermaceuticals launching a complimentary skin care analysis system called Visia Complexion Analysis System. This is available in Whole Foods Markets outlets both in the U.S. and the U.K. Taking this trend a step further, customers are advised to return at two- and four-month intervals for follow-ups, visits that are also expected to prove the efficacy of the recommended products. This kind of initiative will be very welcome among consumers who are skeptical regarding the efficacy claims of anti-aging products.
These new technologies offering customized recommendations, according to the article, are tapping into increasing demand for more personalized and closely targeted products. This trend transcends beauty categories. In skin care, however, this trend is nothing new. Clinique’s skin type 1, 2 or 3 system was launched more than 10 years ago, with Clinique being perhaps one of the first brands to exploit this type of demand. With the U.K. showing the greatest potential of the top five sales countries in premium anti-agers across Western Europe, the country is the best starting point for companies to road test these services. Promoting these services and encouraging repeat visits can help brands to further showcase the efficacy of their products, as well as to cultivate loyalty and a personal relationship with consumers. However, the main benefit these services offer to brands is the ability to stand out and distinguish their brand and skin care specialty in the face of multifunctionality.