The past year has seen the power held by the mass-market beauty conglomerates chipped away at by a plethora of disrupter beauty brands (Ouai, Glossier, Fenty Beauty to name a few). Why? Social media and the rise of the beauty influencer have changed the game. With YouTube’s biggest stars (Huda Kattan, Zoella, Desi Perkins etc.) bringing fresh runway and trend-inspired tutorials to their millions of followers every day, fast beauty is fast becoming the new fast fashion. This is especially true for teens and Gen-Z consumers, research from Mintel shows that 43% of 16-to-24-year-olds choose brands based on which are the first to offer fashionable products. Existing fashion brands can capitalise on this as their fast fashion business model with lots of frequently updated products is perfectly suited to serve the increasingly trend-obsessed beauty consumer.
Tamara Sender, the senior fashion analyst at research company Mintel, explains: “Fashion retailers are increasingly moving into new categories in a bid to leverage trust and consumer loyalty. The addition of a new category adds value to the offer of retailers.”
Here are some we love:
H&M has recently brought back their beauty offer with a reinvigorated range full of makeup and beauty staples. Last year its European flagship opened featuring a dedicated Beauty department that was stocked with the full product range and completed by a treatment area offering manicures and eyebrow threading. Topshop has also expanded their beauty offer in its flagship Oxford Circus store with a new K-beauty section to complement its own makeup line – read more about the rise of K-beauty here.
More recently in 2017, fast-fashion brand Forever 21 launched its own stand-alone beauty brand, Riley Rose, created by the Linda and Esther Chang, the daughters of Forever 21’s founders. The Riley Rose stores are a modern beauty lover’s dream with makeup testing stations, iPads offering how-to tutorials and tech-enabled mirrors – and the millennial pink interior is particularly Instagram friendly.
A number of young, overwhelmingly digital brands are also investing in their beauty offers. Asos made waves in 2017 when its makeup brand launched. Genderfluid and with strong campaign imagery featuring a diverse group of men, women and non-binary models, this line tapped into the inclusive, woke sensibility that so resonates with Gen Z.
Missguided also launched a beauty range in 2017. It embodies the brand’s unashamedly glam aesthetic and typically tongue-in-cheek TOV. Products come in iridescent packaging and are called things like ‘get your contour lit’ ‘billion-dollar bubbles’ and ‘banging bath time’. Its perfume ‘Babe Power’ was the fastest selling perfume of 2017 in the UK according to The Fragrance Shop.
The American department store has been facing considerable challenges over the last few years. However, one area where they are finding renewed growth is in beauty with many beginning to reinvent their beauty floors or even launch stand-alone stores.
Macy’s is a case in point. Its sales may be slumping in general, however, its roster of neighbourhood beauty stores and spas, Bluemercury (which it bought in 2015) continue to report growth. They’ve been so successful that Bluemrcury is now reported to be worth around $1 billion – a seventh of Macy’s current stock market value. Similarly, Bloomingdales is set to reinvent it’s beauty department as ‘Glowhaus’ a mecca for insta-friendly cult products “It’s a space to browse and play in a low-pressure environment, anchored by a play table to hang out around, try products at, and take selfies,” says Stacie Bortek, Bloomingdales’ vice president.
Saks Fifth Avenue is also getting in on the action and investing in a new beauty ‘floor of the future’ with an experiential focus. WWD reports that it includes 15 spa rooms for complimentary and paid services, an apothecary, and the first U.S. outpost of British millennial favourite FaceGym.
For brands of any size investing in beauty provides undeniable opportunities for growth. As the market continues to soar (L’Oreal reported growth across all aspects of the sector in 2017), it offers brands a brilliant way of tapping the today’s trend-focused consumers.
At D&P we’ve worked on a number of beauty brands and projects (even more than we’re able to talk about!) and have enjoyed exploring the beauty sector further in our recent series D&P Loves Beauty. If you would like to discuss anything talked about here please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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