2017 was the year that beauty boomed, digitally. New brands were built, supported and run across social media; make-up artists and celebrities used their own platforms to launch collaborations and brands; and technology allowed customers to virtually, and physically, experience products like never before. The big players, who for so long have ruled the roost, now have some serious competition.
Among this competition are brands built online to reflect their real world audience. Glossier, the millennial pink, community-orientated skincare and beauty range that launched in the US in 2014, is a beauty brand that puts skincare before make-up, reality before filters.
Glossier’s power came through online content, fuelled by the brand's community, on whose opinions the company was built. Glossier launched on Instagram and had over 100,000 followers before they had even created a product. Their business model was founded on word-of-mouth recommendations; on customers sharing with one another. And on the appeal of their visual, Instagramable world. As the Founder and CEO Emily Weiss said, “Commerce is being democratised,” and that applies to both the online and offline spheres.
Many a beauty brand has attempted to embrace diversity authentically. But it was something that Rihanna’s beauty line Fenty Beauty totally embodied. The range, created in collaboration with LVMH, is luxurious and truly inclusive, catering for all different types of skin tone with over 40 different shades of foundation. As the industry, and the world, takes a closer look at diversity, Fenty highlighted the importance of inclusivity.
Beauty companies have also started to pair creativity with newer technology, leveraging the tech to converse with their customers, however and wherever they want. For example, the skincare brand Estée Lauder encouraged their customers to consult Google Home on their skincare routines. When you say “Google, can I talk to the Estée Lauder Night-time Expert?” you’re then asked a series of questions that will generate personalised product recommendations and tips.
As beauty takes a step forward and we look ahead into the New Year, customers will be asking questions of brands, and the industry as a whole, looking to them to lead the way in diversity, inclusivity and technology. Below we’ve picked out some of the trends prevalent across the beauty industry and the brands successfully embracing the changing landscape.