It’s time for beauty brands to break the rules.
At least according to Trendalytics, which aggregates and deduces beauty and fashion trends from retail industry, social, online search and stockkeeping unit data. “The players that we’ve really seen take off…they’ve challenged convention and really brought [something] different to the table by breaking a lot of beauty rules,” said Stephanie Betzler, digital strategist at Trendalytics.
Trendalytics released its October 2016 beauty report as part of the company’s official foray into beauty coverage — previously, it focused just on fashion. “It was really driven by demand from our existing client base,” said Trendalytics chief executive officer and cofounder Karen Moon. “Beauty is one of the fastest-growing categories right now.”
As far as rule breaking goes, talking directly to consumers is one example of what’s setting up and coming brands apart. It’s a tactic that skin-care and makeup brand Glossier has deployed — touching base with top consumers on Slack and its blog to query potential shoppers for input. “[Consumers] are still looking to have an authority for [beauty], but they want to feel like they’re being heard,” Betzler said.
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The report connects the dots between fast fashion, social media, Millennials and beauty. Time shifts in beauty follow fashion’s buy-now movement and are driven by similar motives, the report says, citing Marc Jacobs’ July fragrance launch party as one timed to create buzz just before the product dropped. For the previous perfume, the launch took place in May in order to meet timelines for print magazines’ September issue, according to the report.
“If we look at what fast fashion has done…it’s changing production cycles….I think we’re going to start to see that in beauty more and more,” Moon said.
While digital influencers are impacting production cycles, the digital climate is also playing into the surge of indie brands that are shaking things up. Brands don’t necessarily require department store distribution anymore to grow, according to Trendalytics, citing Memebox’s $150 million in run-rate sales or Ipsy’s $150 million business as examples. But big brands can use digital to their advantage too, the firm said, calling out Burberry’s use of Pinterest and Snapchat to launch products as an example of a more mainstream player tapping into digital.
The firm also identifies a white space — prestige blackhead treatments. Apparently, four times more customers are typing in blackheads than wrinkles in Internet searches, but there are only one-twelfth of the blackhead-fighting products on the market compared to wrinkle-fighting products — and 75 percent of blackhead products cost less than $25. Liquid lipstick, too, has room to grow, as search traffic is still tripling for the category, Moon said. Other potential areas primed for expansion include hair care, with the potential for prestige dandruff treatments, color correcting concealers and colored false eyelashes, according to Moon and Betzler.
“Will we see colors in eyelashes? It exists, but I could see something like that, that has all the elements of taking off on social media and becoming a thing,” Moon said.