Mental wellbeing, digital discovery and eco-ethical key global beauty trends in 2021: Mintel

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Conscious consumerism has taken on a new meaning across the global beauty sector in 2021 - think ethical, safe and reassuring product that cater to consumer needs (Getty Images)
Conscious consumerism has taken on a new meaning across the global beauty sector in 2021 - think ethical, safe and reassuring product that cater to consumer needs (Getty Images)

Related tags Mintel Consumer trends 2021 wellbeing wellness digital beauty 4.0 ethical beauty conscious beauty retail

Total wellness is now integral to beauty routines and COVID-19 has driven many consumers to prioritise more ethical brands, add in rising expectations around digital experiences and product quality and 2021 has plenty of important movements to watch, says Mintel.

Last month, Mintel identified total wellness as “integral to daily beauty routines”​, as consumers focused on stress and mental health during COVID-19. Andrew McDougall, associate director of global beauty and personal care at Mintel, told CosmeticsDesign-Europe: “In unprecedented times, having a sense of ‘normality’ can be really powerful; mentally and emotionally. Brands should focus on being that companion for consumers.”

And this total wellbeing focus formed part of Mintel’s 2021 Global Beauty and Personal Care Trends​ report that featured four movements to watch: Beautiful Mind, Beauty (Re)Valued, Channel Changers and Beauty Eco-lution.

Beauty wellness and eco-ethical considerations

Mintel’s ‘beautiful mind’ trend reiterated how the concept of total wellness was now integral to beauty routines, offering brands the opportunity to build normality for consumers with “consciously created products that keep consumers protected, bring value to purchase decisions, and rebuild trusting brand relationships”.

Success in this space, the report said, required brands to highlight how routines could be used to combat stress and anxiety and help drive “long-term value for consumers”.​ It also required brands to broadcast their “stringent safety guidelines” ​to help attract new consumers seeking assurance, Mintel said.

GlobalData also recently highlighted how the COVID-19 crisis had made consumers look inward and “seek intense reassurance from brands”.​ Lia Neophytou, analyst at Global data, said at the time: “Beauty brands that offer advice and make recommendations on how beauty and grooming routines can be enhanced and developed to promote holistic wellbeing would stand out from competitors amid the pandemic period.”

Beyond wellness, Mintel’s report said ‘beauty eco-lution’ was another trend to watch in 2021, created as consumers emerged from COVID-19 forced to “re-evaluate purchase priorities with eco-ethical considerations driving more conscious purchases”.

Success in this space would need to pivot on beauty shifting local, as many consumers changed purchase patterns to their own neighbourhoods with less focus on price. It would also need brands to create the “next evolution of ‘clean’ by marrying ethics with safety to cater to the conscious and careful beauty consumer”, ​Mintel said.

Digital experiences and quality soar as beauty worth revalued

Mintel’s next global beauty trend ‘channel changers’ identified the change in how consumers discovered and purchased products now, noting this had “shifted permanently with technological integration paving the way for the future”.

Digital and omnichannel experiences will become an increasingly important aspect in what consumers consider the 'value of beauty', says Mintel (Getty Images)
Digital and omnichannel experiences will become an increasingly important aspect in what consumers consider the 'value of beauty', says Mintel (Getty Images)

The future required investments in “robust e-commerce strategies”​ that allowed brands to “win with a true omnichannel approach that pushes all the boundaries, engages all of the senses and offers new layers of digital experience to guide shoppers,”​ the report said.

Success required multiple, sophisticated and personalised touchpoints that were focused on “capturing individual lifestyle needs”​, Mintel said, along with strategies to drive commerce to own-brand sites and collaboration with professional services.

All this aligned with Mintel’s final global beauty trend ‘beauty (re)valued’ – highlighting how consumer priorities had shifted amidst lifestyle changes during COVID-19.

Spending had come “under scrutiny”, ​the report said, propelling product functionality and purpose as key usage drivers in beauty. “Value is measured in quality, convenience and purchase impact rather than currency as consumers trade up and down across categories,” ​it said.

And it was here, Mintel said, that experiences took on importance. “Experiences will become more valuable than tangible products as many consumers re-evaluate what is essential to survival and the investment-versus-time proposition drives new behaviours in the professional sector.”

The beauty industry had to “redefine” ​what value meant, beyond cost, Mintel said, focusing on the other value measures as a way to get consumers to “trade up”.

CosmeticsDesign top 15 global beauty trends to watch

Late last year, our own editorial team at CosmeticsDesign highlighted 15 global beauty trends to watch in 2021​, carved up by regions: EMEA, Americas and APAC. Key trends included ‘beauty for all’, ‘green beauty’, ‘meaningful beauty’, ‘local focus’, ‘hygiene chic’ and ‘multicultural mainstream’.

For an in-depth look at these trends and how they are set to play out this year, take a look at our dedicated video from our global editors​.

For detail on the top five EMEA beauty trends to watch in 2021, we take you through all the important aspects to consider in this dedicated feature article​.


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