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Targeted multi-functionality could help brands stand out in a crowded market, in the short term…

By Andrew MCDOUGALL , 12-Feb-2013

In an increasingly competitive cosmetics market, tapping into the ‘targeted multi-functionality’ trend could help combine contradictory demands and help brands to stand out from the crowd, but may only be an intermediate solution, according to industry experts.

Simplicity and value, whilst still remaining effective is one of the key consumer demands affecting the cosmetics industry at present; and has forced brands to approach a more holistic product approach with products offering multi-functional benefits.

The rise in popularity of BB creams last year, particularly in Asia where skin care is a top priority, is an example of that trend.

Intermediate solution

However Irina Barbalova, head of Beauty and Personal care and Nicole Tyrimou, Analyst – Beauty and Personal Care, at Euromonitor say that although this is true, there is also a trend at the other end of the scale as consumers seek out customized and personalized solutions.

“As both simplicity and specialization appear to be equally desired by consumers, some brands are starting to exploit the potential benefits of combining the two, by highlighting their specialization, while, at the same time, adding multiple features to their offerings,” say the experts.

“’Targeted multi-functionality’ may in itself be a contradiction in terms, but it could prove as an intermediate solution for some players to stand out in an increasingly overcrowded market.”

The Euromonitor analysts point out that whilst this may help initially, manufacturers should be careful not to overuse the term ‘multi-function’ and ultimately cause consumer confusion.

“The popularity of BB creams appears to have diluted the original concept to the point where some brands seem to use the term simply for marketing reasons and to glamorise their products,” they continue.

Consumer confusion?
“Although the majority of consumers may not be aware of the original concept and use of the BB cream, the plethora of different offerings and benefits they claim, could start causing confusion as to what their actual purpose and added value is.”

An example of this has already been seen as consumers appear to be moving on to the next ‘cult’ trend, CC creams.

Euromonitor explains that while multi-functional products should continue to be in high demand, it is likely that the overuse of the term and the confusion around its benefits could see the downfall of BB creams.

“The arrival of CC creams is a sure indication that the industry is already moving on to the next ‘cult’ offering,” says Barbalova, who will be exploring the topc and looking at new growth models at the upcoming in-cosmetics event in Paris on 16 April, having spoken about the trends at the Asia edition last year. 

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