Beauty Industry Trends Marketers Should Know

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The beauty industry is always evolving, but this year, there are several noteworthy developments. An insightful article by Deborah Weinswig, CEO and founder of global retail think tank Coresight Research, covers three of the biggest ones happening in the U.S.: the Korean beauty (K-beauty) giving way to Japan beauty (J-beauty), the men’s grooming market and social media influencers.

Weinswig argues that K-beauty, known for being trend-driven, innovative and quirky, has reached its peak and now U.S. excitement is waning. She feels that consumers are focusing on J-beauty, which could spell an embrace of a slow beauty movement, as J-beauty companies tend to be more about proven efficacy and quality. That could mean a slowdown of product innovation cycles for the industry. It could also mean that just as Korean beauty brands have been the subject of acquisitions, so could Japanese beauty brands.

Another area of growth is the men’s beauty category, points out Weinswig. Within those markets promising areas are men’s skincare and hair care, which, according to Euromonitor International, could grow 8.8 percent and 6.8 percent this year, respectively. 
 
But not everything in the men’s area is poised for big opportunity. For this year, Euromonitor predicts some weak spots in men’s grooming which could lead the whole category downward, resulting in only 2.3 percent growth in 2018.

She [Weinswig] feels that consumers are focusing on J-beauty [Japan beauty], which could spell an embrace of a slow beauty movement, as J-beauty companies tend to be more about proven efficacy and quality.

Next up could be men’s makeup. According to a YouGov 2016 survey, “37% of Millennials aged 18–34 say it’s acceptable for men to wear mascara, compared to just 25% of those aged 35–54 and 9% of those 55 and older.” Currently, there is an emerging category of genderless makeup, and in fact, Weinswig believes “it is only a matter of time before men’s use of subtle corrective or complexion-enhancing makeup becomes relatively mainstream.”

The final trend Weinswig cites is the rise of social media influencers and their increasing role in moving beauty products, both established brands and their own. She notes that the impact of influencers goes beyond mass market and into luxury brands. Such a move isn’t surprising given the near universal goal of attracting Gen Z consumers who are influenced by social media endorsements. She cites market research firm The NPD Group’s findings that “prestige makeup launches that involved influencer collaborations generated, on average, twice the sales volumes in their first month as launches that involved traditional celebrity collaborations.” And according to management consultancy Bain & Company, “the main growth engine of the luxury market is a generational shift, with 85% of luxury growth in 2017 fueled by Generations Y and Z.” Bain calls the trend the “‘millennialization’ of luxury customers.”

Weinswig believes “it is only a matter of time before men’s use of subtle corrective or complexion-enhancing makeup becomes relatively mainstream.”

Weinswig’s article makes it clear that the beauty industry is changing quickly. Savvy marketers need to be nimble in order to take advantage of the rich opportunities — especially with these three beauty areas — and keep a close look to see how the other nascent trends she notes (like cosmetics for men) are growing.