What Retail Buyers Want: Skin, Bath, Cosmetics & Fragrance  4/12/2017

As part of their preparation for ECRM’s Skin, Bath, Cosmetics & Fragrance EPPS, retail buyers complete a form on the EPPS prep site, indicating the subcategories they are buying for, and on what areas they are focusing their buying efforts.

Based on this information, collected from more than 165 buyers and category managers attending our meetings, here are a few key areas of interest around Skin, Bath, Cosmetics and Fragrance categories:

Niche Products:
A great number of buyers are looking for niche products that are not typically available at mass retail stores. They are looking especially for new and emerging brands whose products are truly unique. This is no doubt influenced by the prevalence of beauty subscription box programs that have uncovered many gold nuggets from new indie beauty suppliers. Exclusivity here is key – buyers are looking for new products that their competitors can’t run as well, or that can be included in their store brand mix.

Natural/Organic Ingredients: The demand for products with clean labels has not slowed down, and products featuring natural and/or organic ingredients, non-GMO certifications, and are cruelty-free are sought after by buyers and category managers.

Beauty for Aging/Older Women:
Products aimed at the older female market, with anti-aging benefits that are suitable for more conservative tastes.

Beauty Solutions/Gift Sets: Bundled products aimed at addressing beauty needs, such as skin regimens and beauty sets. Similarly, gift sets, particularly in cosmetics and fragrance categories, are popular among buyers.

Off-price/closeouts: Some value retailers are seeking value products with high impulse appeal that they can refresh regularly to maintain shopper interest – a treasure-hunt of beauty products.

Premium Beauty: At the other end of the spectrum, buyers are looking for premium beauty and fragrance items for their prestige and luxury assortments – products that are typically found in salons. These include clinical formulations and hand-made artisanal items.

Other items of note include products that can be part of a Groupon offering, and an interest in fincing suppliers who have products across multiple categories who can deliver logistical cost-savings.


Joseph Tarnowski

VP Content

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