Digital, personal, health and climate: Trends born from indie beauty to continue in ‘year filled with uncertainty’

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

'Although the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of turbulence worldwide, the dominant trends that underpin the beauty industry are not so easily swayed,' says GlobalData (Getty Images)
'Although the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of turbulence worldwide, the dominant trends that underpin the beauty industry are not so easily swayed,' says GlobalData (Getty Images)

Related tags: trends, GlobalData, 2020, digital, Personalisation, personalised beauty, Health, wellbeing, Sustainability, Climate change

Digitalisation, personalisation, wellness and sustainability have been popularised by independent beauty brands and with big beauty now onboard these trends will remain critical as 2020 evolves, says GlobalData.

The data specialist’s latest report Top Trends in Beauty and Grooming 2020 ​highlights digitalisation, personalisation, wellness and sustainability as important trends for the year to come – trends popularised by independent ‘indie’ beauty brands that then garnered interest among the “beauty and grooming behemoths”.

So, just how exactly might these trends play out in the year to come, particularly given the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis?

Wellbeing, personalisation and digital boom, sustainability ‘more complex’

“Although the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of turbulence worldwide, the dominant trends that underpin the beauty industry are not so easily swayed,”​ said Carmen Bryan, associate analyst at GlobalData.

“In fact, high levels of anxiety are likely driving demand for more products catered towards wellbeing and ‘feel good’ positioning. What’s more, as consumers have more time on their hands, they are increasingly looking for tailored experiences that serve both as a stimulant and stress relief – this is particularly true in younger generations which are actively driving the rise of Instagram-led brands that market do-it-yourself nail or skin care routines,”​ Bryan told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.

Sustainability was a “slightly more complex issue” ​in the time of coronavirus, she said, because whilst demand remained high it had “taken a back seat under the current situation”.

Consumers were prioritising health, safety and convenience during lockdowns leading to an uptick in home delivery, for example, which created excess packaging waste and CO2 emissions – “an afterthought for many consumers at this time”, ​she said.

However, Bryan said this wouldn’t last and sustainability would “continue to be a leading driver of innovation in the long-term”.

Given these key beauty trends were born from indie, how then could big beauty best leverage success in these areas?

If it’s trending on social media, they’re interested

Yamina Tsalamlal, consumer analyst at GlobalData, said mergers and acquisitions (M&A) was one tactic being used by beauty majors to leverage indie success, with a total of 115 beauty deals completed in 2019 – the “most notable”​ being Shiseido’s $845m acquisition of indie American brand Drunk Elephant.

Tsalamlal said the deal gave Shiseido important access to Drunk Elephant’s “bright and colourful social media channels”​ and a way to connect with younger consumers.

GlobalData Q3 2019 survey findings, for example, showed 80% of Millennials (now aged 26-40) were interested in products trending on social media, followed by 73% of Generation Z (now aged 5-25) and 65% of Generation X (now aged 41-55).

“Young consumers are connecting with indie brands because they are seen as authentic and agile, connecting with consumers in a unique way. Shiseido’s acquisition demonstrates how large legacy brands that may struggle to reach younger consumers use acquisitions as a way to connect with a new audience and continue to grow,”​ Tsalamlal said.

Personalisation+ targeting a range of identities

Digitalisation, personalisation, wellness and sustainability are being shaped and fuelled by consumers (Getty Images)
Digitalisation, personalisation, wellness and sustainability are being shaped and fuelled by consumers (Getty Images)

GlobalData said personalisation, whilst not a new trend, would continue in importance but with a diversified meaning, shaped by social media and the rise of niche communities.

“Like most trends, younger consumers are at the forefront, but social media platforms have increased visibility of so many communities. This shows that identities such as age, race, gender and ethnicity are at the forefront of innovation and consumer engagement,”​ the report said.

And GlobalData survey data from Q4 2018 showed 89% of consumers worldwide were ‘always, often or somewhat’ influenced by how tailored a product or service was to their personality and lifestyle.

“In 2020, we can expect to see more tailored products for previously unmet needs of different groups,”​ said Tsalamlal.

Personalisation based on age, for example, was one trend to watch, according to GlobalData. Tsalamlal said L’Oréal was one good example of a big beauty brand tapping into this, with the launch of its makeup line for mature women; the launch of a Netflix star’s makeup line for teenagers called Florence by Mills was another good example.

Tailored ‘wellness and confidence’ opportunities in skin care

Whilst these two examples were in makeup, Tsalamlal said the largest opportunity for personalised beauty remained in skin care – the strongest performing category that had seen “robust growth”​ over the past few years. This was also a category where wellness came firmly into play, she said, with widespread ‘look good, feel good’ positionings.

“Skin care products are also used as part of customers’ personalised wellness rituals as moments when consumers can spend time taking care of themselves. Recent years have seen celebrity endorsed campaigns advocating that all skin types are unique and beautiful – this, in essence, leverages personalised claims to create a feeling of wellness and confidence in the customer.”

Wellness attributes used in beauty had continued to expand, she said, and were now a “hybrid between tailoring ethical and ‘pure’ claims with consumers’ lifestyles”.

“…Looking ahead, we expect consumers to continue to demand that brands meet their lifestyle needs and be integrated into a wellness regime, particularly in a year filled with uncertainty,” ​Tsalamlal said.

Consideration for the climate crisis continues

Consumers want a 360-degree response to sustainability from brands (Getty Images)
Consumers want a 360-degree response to sustainability from brands (Getty Images)

GlobalData also identified sustainability as holding continued importance in the beauty space.

“Health and the climate emergency are also front of mind for consumers and many brands understand this and are creating products to meet these demands,” ​the report said.

Consumers, for example, now expected brands to offer “360-degree sustainability, from the packaging to the sourcing and ingredients”,​ it said.

“Trends such as self-expression, sustainability, and wellness continue to be extremely relevant; however, the broader interpretations of these trends and product examples show how the industry is expanding its offerings to meet the diverse consumer demand,”​ GlobalData said.

Sustainability was identified as one of CosmeticsDesign-Europe’s five 2020 trends to watch in our global video prediction, described as ‘A Green Uprising’.

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