Wellness, Unicorns, Selfies and the Business of Beauty  6/24/2017

A greater focus on health and wellness is key for retailers to retain shoppers of skin care and beauty products, according to Kate Senzamici, Principal Analyst at Kantar Retail, who spoke at ECRM's Skin, Bath, Cosmetics & Fragrance EPPS earlier this month.

"Shoppers are willing to pay more for health and wellness clarity, convenience, and personalization," she said, adding that key growth drivers complementing this wellness focus are localization, personalization, social, and seamless experiences (Download the presentation here).

According to the Kantar research, beauty is still a highly fragmented market, and the U.S. beauty category continues to steadily grow with shares shifts between retail outlets. The drug channel, for example, is poised to lose the most with a 2.9 percent drop in share of consumer preference, according to the research. Department stores are still holding their own, with a foundation built on a strong historical shopper base. Beauty specialists, however, are stealing share and capturing new beauty shoppers, particularly Millennials, and Amazon is steadily growing its share due to a heavy investment in the category

Fresh, Local, Organic, Natural, Health
Indeed, shoppers are increasingly drawn to products with natural and organic ingredients, as well as those that are made with sustainable practices. “Natural and organic beauty assortments are factoring into product and brand decisions, and clean labels are actively engaging shoppers,” said Senzamici. “HBC purchasers place a significantly higher value on transparency.”

These sentiments were clearly echoed in the comments made by retailers and suppliers in their interviews with ECRM staff during the EPPS session, as well as those of the Hair Care & Multicultural EPPS, which took place concurrently. Products with clean ingredients or aimed at enhancing the health of skin and hair were clearly dominant among the attending suppliers.

Two clear standouts were charcoal and clay, particularly as ingredients in facial masks, which – as ECRM noted earlier this year, continue to be popular. The reason for this popularity is the pore-cleaning and detoxifying these ingredients provide consumers. 

In fact, the winner of the ECRM/Drug Store News Buyer’s Choice Award for Skin, Bath, Cosmetics & Fragrance was Global Beauty Care’s SpaScriptions line of face masks, one of which is a Deep Cleansing Wash-Off mask that is infused with charcoal and other natural ingredients. Men’s masks are also growing in demand, and we saw more of them among the suppliers’ offerings this year. The finalist was Crop Natural for its natural skincare line -- a clear sign of the continued popularity of natural beauty products.

At the Hair Care and Multicultural EPPS, Aleryn took home the first place award for its Weave Dryer, a universal thermal blow dryer nozzle attachment for styling natural hair, extensions, braids, twists and locks. The runner-up for this EPPS was Project Beauty for its Hairgurt smoothing yogurt hair masque and Hairgurt intense repair yogurt masque.

Unicorns & Mermaids
In addition to the wellness and natural trend, one couldn’t escape the Unicorn and Mermaid craze that’s permeating every category of beauty, and the bright colors, sparkles, and metallic shades they are bringing to cosmetics and hair products. “They are the biggest trend in beauty now,” said one attendee. “Everything is unicorns.”

The trend entails everything bright and shiny, and provides a ton of opportunities for engagement with consumers via social media. On Instagram alone, there are more than 5.3 million posts with the #unicorn hashtag, and 6.1 million with #mermaid. In fact, unicorn beauty has become so popular that beauty media brand Allure has a section on its website that’s dedicated to it. So if you can find a way to incorporate this theme into your brand marketing, it's a great way to get exposure among consumers.

And speaking of selfies, ECRM had its own magic happening with Perfect Corp, the makers of the YouCam Beauty Apps and a sponsor of the EPPS. The apps, which have been downloaded more than 480 million times, uses augmented reality to enable consumers to virtually try different shades of makeup via their mobile phones, and also has in-store kiosks – such as the one at Macy’s Herald Square store in New York City, so shoppers can easily try “30 shades in one minute.” The company developed a custom ECRM filter for the duration of the EPPS, and attendees were encouraged to post selfies using the filter for a chance at winning a $100 gift card. The winners were Maria and Dominique Rush of Beauty Store Management stores (see the photo below).

We can expect to see a lot more of them in the future, but to learn more about what they can do for retailers and brands, check out their On-Demand webcast we hosted last month!

And be sure to register for our Cosmetics, Fragrance & Bath EPPS in January -- I hope to see you there!

Kantar's Kate Senzamici spoke about the impact of wellness on beauty
Beauty Store Management's Maria (left) and Dominique Rush won the ECRM-YouCam selfie contest at the EPPS
The YouCam team in their meeting suite, where they demoed their tech

Lisa Carrillo

SVP of Beauty Care

Lisa can be reached at 440-528-0427

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