We are image obsessed, now more so than ever. Which is why it isn’t surprising that the global beauty market was worth $465 billion in 2017 and is slated to grow to $750 billion by 2024, according to Inkwood Research. Beauty is big business, there’s no doubt about that. But the rhetoric around it is starting to change.
Social media has democratised the beauty space, allowing brands to be born around an organic community, digital-first names like Glossier, Milk Make-Up, Ouai haircare and others besides. These brands not only sound like the community that forms around them; they look like them too. The stereotypes are starting to dissolve as faces young, old, freckly, scarred, black or white smile up at us from our phone screens.
“Social beauty”, a term coined by Adrien Koskas, Managing Director of L’Oréal’s consumer products division in the UK, is what connects brands to the people passionate about their products. Consumers are looking for brands to align themselves with, to find those with a personality that speaks to their own.
And our behaviour online continues to shape the physical retail space. People browse, read reviews, watch videos online. But they still want to experience the product in store and for themselves. The move towards more experience based retail is allowing beauty brands to boom where other retail sectors are flailing.
In an article for British Vogue in October 2018, Nicky de Simone, Regional Brand Manager of Becca cosmetics in the UK and Ireland spoke of revolutionising the brand: “One of the big changes we discussed…was that the product becomes the souvenir of experience…It’s like taking a souvenir home from a holiday. This is a world that is about experience swag.”
Experience swag. This is a powerful phrase and one that encapsulates a new approach to retail, one that ensures that your brand becomes part of a lifestyle, rather than just a consumer-able experience.
The definition and perception of beauty is changing, forcing the industry to change too. Here’s how some brands are keeping up.