While the headlines may sound as though they were pulled from the political stage, they also quite aptly describe the upheaval we are experiencing in the world of beauty.
The changes that we saw emerging in prior years have gained momentum and have reached a magnitude that has toppled the established order of things. In 2017, expect more of the unexpected.
In our people, like the movement of tectonic plates, “next gen” influence is the front driving the fundamental shifts across industries and in beauty. Beyond being defined by the traditional generational boundaries that demarcate “young Millennials” or “Gen Z,” this “gen” is a combined force of nature. Upending every facet of our industry—manufacturing, retailing, marketing, packaging, messaging—in their wake, beauty today is in many ways unrecognizable to the beauty we knew just a few years ago. At the same time, beyond the youth quake is the “other gen” expanding their interests beyond just results and immediacy to also embrace health and greater well-being.
Expect new dimensions in care as well as appearance-related categories to increase share.
Offsetting the proliferation of “indie brands” is a surge in industry consolidation. While one or two giants once controlled much of the market, the spate of acquisitions across beauty is leveling the playing field. Prestige looks more like Mass. Mass looks more like Prestige. And, everyone looks like Specialty. Expect accessibility in price and channels to play a bigger role.
In skin care, primary care and prevention bond with makeup preparation to offset the losses from the continued declines in anti-aging. The little categories we once ignored or overlooked are now the giants of growth in skin care, as consumers turn to lip treatment, masks, complexion treatment products and others for solutions to their appearance needs. Expect formats to expand and increase in importance.
In makeup, more consumers are using more products than we have ever seen. As the foremost appearance category of beauty, makeup has been the leader of incremental gains and the source drawing consumers into our industry. Online, the education, buzz and community influence of social media has created global prominence of categories such as brows, lip color, contouring and foundation applications, to name just a few. Expect further blurring of the lines across category usage and channel offerings.
In fragrance, consumer engagement continues to expand to embrace the personal and holistic experience. For the individual, designer classics reimagined for a younger generation and innovative artisanal scents will continue to spark the category. For the broader scent experience, differentiation in offerings will continue to gain importance.
With trends moving, it seems, at the speed of thought, beauty is revolutionized. Embracing change as never before, beauty is harnessing the energy of healthy disruption. While the trends will shift and growth is likely to temper somewhat, expect another vibrant year in 2017.
About the author: Karen Grant is Global Beauty Industry Analyst, The NPD Group.