Event Buzz: Skin, Bath, Cosmetics & Fragrances 7/10/2015
There were a variety of trends discussed among buyers and sellers at ECRM’s Skin, Bath, Cosmetics and Fragrances event, held last month in Atlanta, but a quote from Maria Rush, business development manager for Beauty Collection, a Southern California-based retailer who attended the event, was a great overview.
“The number one growth in the stores and in our sales are the current natural offerings and a demand for consumers looking for this in the luxury/prestige category,” said Rush. “Wellness that covers all categories, from supplements for hair loss, liquid nutraceuticals, to vitamin enhanced waters. Beauty from the inside out. Also within cosmetics, multipurpose products that are not only make-up, but work as treatments as well.”
Indeed, beauty products with natural ingredients were cited as a top consumer trend by one-third of the 90 event attendees who participated in ECRM’s event debriefings – one-on-one interviews with ECRM staff, and many of the suppliers at the event offered such products.
Facial masks were also noted by more than two dozen participants as a hot trend in beauty, partly because of their efficacy: Since they don’t have to “blend” into the skin, they can be formulated to deliver a greater concentration of active ingredients (Daymon Worldwide discusses Facial Masks in detail in its recent column).
In fact, facial masks are so popular, that the demand has resulted in a wealth of these products hitting the market, and some buyers say they are almost at a point of over-saturation. Suppliers planning to launching a facial mask product at this time should take note that a mere “me too” product will no longer cut it; you’ll have to innovate and differentiate, or don’t bother.
And speaking of differentiation, one way in which retailers can truly set themselves apart from the pack is by developing their own brand products for their beauty assortments. “Everyone is going to private label so they don’t have to compete with other retailers selling the same brands,” said one attendee, who noted that the private label suppliers are putting more effort into developing innovative products, as well as high-end offerings that appeal to today’s better-informed consumer. There were many private brand beauty suppliers at the event, and you’ll find more at ECRM’s Private Brand HBC event to be held April 11 to 14 2016 in Atlanta.
As Beauty Collection’s Rush mentioned, multi-purpose products are also popular, and fit into a broader theme discussed among buyers and sellers at the event, which was convenience and ease-of-use. Consumers are increasingly looking for solutions that are easy to apply, that are portable, or that can bring spa-quality treatments to the comfort of their homes. Products that address these needs include individually packaged sheet facial masks, wipes, one-step gel nail polish that doesn’t require heat lamps, all of which are being increasingly sought out by beauty consumers, according to event attendees.
Challenges and opportunities
A lack of available merchandising space was a top challenge mentioned among both buyers and sellers interviewed at the event, making it tough to cut in new products or display a full line of products, especially as an increasing number of private label products make their way into the assortment. This is all the more reason for suppliers to truly innovate to develop unique items and merchandising solutions/packaging that can grab a retailer’s attention and work with limited real estate.
One opportunity buyers are looking for is more off-priced strategies from vendors. According to one buyer interviewed, “most vendors are not ready to have a serious off-price conversation, and tend to just show us a closeout list.” But for those suppliers looking to develop such a strategy, many buyers would be ready to listen.
What challenges and opportunities are you seeing in the Skin, Bath, Cosmetics & Fragrances categories? We’d love to hear from you!