As we were going to press with this issue of WWD Beauty Biz, which is focused on the impact of technology on the beauty industry, the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index retreated to 48.5 from 53.2 in August. The index, based on a survey of 5,000 U.S. households, revealed that confidence in the state of the economy remains grim, particularly with the jobless rate continuing to hover in the high single digits. Although the economists insist the recovery is well under way, marketers and retailers know that luring shoppers to open their wallets remains a challenge to be surmounted every single day.
Simultaneously, technological advances in the digital realm have rendered a seismic shift in the balance of power between consumers and the companies they patronize. The marketing monologue is now a dialogue, one in which brands and retailers have to not only talk to consumers, but—more important—they have to listen, interact, educate, entertain and create a community of like-minded people who feel an emotional connection to each other and the brand. As I learned while reporting "Power Connections," the result is a new strategic landscape that is fundamentally changing the industry. "Digital isn't just a Web site. It isn't just social networking. It isn't just commerce," Wendy Liebmann told me. "It is the underpinning of how we think about communicating, shopping and buying today." Discover how beauty's most forward-looking brands and retailers are harnessing that power to drive sales in the face of continuing consumer apathy here.
One country that most certainly isn't suffering from consumer apathy is Vietnam. There, a booming youth population and growing middle class are fueling explosive growth. Although the country is still plagued by a torrent of gray-market goods and fakes, its turbulent political past isn't an issue for the nation's young people, who comprise more than 50 percent of its 86 million people. Adam Thyer and Chi Mai report from Ho Chi Minh City, in fact, that the under-25 set is more interested in pop culture, personal consumption and self-expression. The result: Vietnam's personal care market is expected to almost double between now and 2014, according to Euromonitor International, from an estimated $598 million to $925 million by 2014. For a complete overview of the country's growth prospects, turn to "World Wide Watch."
A category that is sparking increasing interest among Western consumers and will almost certainly hold appeal for young Vietnamese, too, is the hybrids category, color cosmetics infused with treatment benefits, made possible by advancements in ingredient technology and research and development. Learn more about the market in "United State," then turn to the "It List" for a comprehensive roundup of another small but growing arena: beauty e-tail sites.
Should additional proof be needed, Isaiah Mustafa, interviewed in "Last Call," can attest to the influence of the digital sphere. The football-playerturned- actor has catapulted to fame as the hunky star of Old Spice's "Smell Like a Man, Man" campaign, which is now the most viewed video on YouTube and has helped double—double—the brand's sales. Confidence-building measures, indeed.
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)