Cosmetics regulations in China stymie many a foreign beauty brand.

Things in beauty are changing — and they’re changing fast.

WWD talked to Fabrizio Freda, president and chief executive officer of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., after the company’s latest quarterly earnings report to get his insights on what the top three challenges of today’s beauty climate are:

Fabrizio Freda  UNGANO&AGRIODIMAS

“The risks of macro-economical and geopolitical situations — that, I would say, is the biggest challenge that we need to get under control. Being able to navigate the complex geopolitical, economic and volatile external environment.”

“Second is the fast change of consumer preferences in where they buy and how they buy. It’s all the speed of change in the distribution networks around the world, driven by the evolution of consumer preferences and expectations. That’s another big challenge any company needs to stay on top of.”

“The third is the volatility — meaning that just a year ago, the fastest-growing category was makeup, and today, it’s skin care. Tomorrow, we’ll see — by the way, tomorrow I believe it will continue to be skin care. There is this fast change driven by consumers. Consumers are very powerful in making their choices and change their point of view very fast in their priorities. In order to stay [in] tune with consumer preferences, which are more volatile, that’s where data analytics and anticipation of the future, or our methodology which I call the Compass, where we continuously on a rolling basis study the next 10 years, this ability to anticipate the future is becoming a fundamental challenge for any company.”

For more from WWD.com, see: 

Estée Lauder Hits $4 Billion in Sales for Latest Quarter

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