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Focus on Fun in Beauty

Posted: July 31, 2013

Karen Grant, vice president and global beauty industry analyst for The NPD Group, wrote a blog post discussing the importance of balance in regard to new launches among prestige beauty in the past year. In "Balancing Act," Grant notes how the specific focus of new launches as thrown off the results of prestige beauty for both 2012—and now growing into 2013.

She writes, "Put simply, life is all about balance. Whether it be a mother teaching her child that you can’t always get what you want or the elusive but ever sought after ‘work life balance’—balance is important in virtually every aspect of our daily life. Balance is also proving to be a major factor for success in the way we manage our businesses when it comes to innovation and new offerings.

"An imbalance among new products played out last year in the prestige beauty business, and the trend seems to have spilled over into this year as well. In 2012, despite a flurry of activity, launches didn’t really help to drive any of the respective category businesses. Why? Where did they go wrong? Imbalance.

"Makeup was the only category that experienced a slight increase in launches last year. Most of the growth in makeup came from new introductions that were heavily concentrated on functional segments like foundation and concealers, but light on fun, fashion-focused categories like eye and lip. In skin care, launch offerings put the emphasis on lifting and firming benefits, leading to the virtual exclusion of complexion benefits. And, in both men’s and women’s fragrance launches, imbalance was characterized by too many or too few original new scents, and spinoffs of familiar favorites. The result: A lot of new products but not enough balance to entice consumers, which led to a $40 million decline in total prestige beauty launches in 2012.

"A similar situation seems to be playing out in the first five months of this year. Launches in fragrance and skin care are falling behind again, and makeup is the only category showing launches on the upswing (up 11% in January–May 2013, versus the same time last year). So what’s helping makeup? Surprise! An increased emphasis on the fun factor of eye and lip products is driving growth in makeup launches.

"So, over the next few months check out the newness, and the balance among the offerings. Look for updated treatments in skin care, from correction to new prevention solutions, as well as the virtual alphabet soup for complexion concerns. In fragrance, it won’t be about ‘this’ OR ‘that’. Rather ‘this’ AND ‘that’ will take the stage, as everyone from teen heartthrobs like Justin Bieber and One Direction, designers like Gucci and Calvin Klein, and legends like Estée Lauder get in the game this fall.

"As boomers hold on to their youth and millennials grow up, there is a need to find new happy mediums. Instead of see-sawing between the extremes, we need to balance the new with the familiar, the functional with the fun, the simple with the complex. More than ever before, balance in beauty is the key," Grant ends.

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