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Just like with the Health & Wellness industry, the Beauty industry has experienced highs and lows like never before with the pandemic. Now, as the global situation changes alongside developments in the social media landscape, beauty trends are evolving in interesting ways.

For our partners and publishers to keep up with all that’s happening, we review and identify the current trends of the industry. To optimize for maximum conversions, be sure to use this information to pave your strategy for the rest of 2021 and into 2022! For more information on trends for Winter 2021/2022, click here.

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Key Niches

The pandemic has had an overwhelming impact on the beauty industry – specifically, on the viability of the different types of niches.

While makeup and fragrances dipped out of relevance due to WFH, social distancing and mask-wearing policies, in contrast, the global skin care market soared and is estimated to hit 189.3 billion US dollars by 2025. In the Europe market, a survey likewise revealed that 96% of consumers favoured skincare over makeup during this period. This is largely thanks to self-care and pampering trends, which arose due to the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thanks to the necessity of wearing masks that cover the lower part of our faces, cosmetics such as lipstick became less relevant, while eye cosmetics kicked up in demand. Hair, bath and body, and nail products were also favoured by consumers, as were candles, aromatherapy, and detox products. DIY beauty products such as hair and nail coloring became popular as salon and manicure services became restricted as well.

Key Trends

1. Anti-aging Marketing Trends

The anti-aging niche in particular is getting huge, as people become more and more sensitive to looking their age. The global market reached US$ 44,124 million in 2020, and is expected to increase by 45% to US$ 64,043 million by 2026.

Notably, marketing for this niche is shifting towards scientific evidence and proof of product effectiveness. Consumers are now digitally savvy and more educated, researching each ingredient and their benefits thoroughly before purchase. Thanks to this rational purchasing behavior, they are also more open to trying new products to achieve desired effects, which allows opportunities for new brands and new products. 

2. Trending Ingredients

As part of the trend towards rational purchase behavior, there are specific ingredients that beauty shoppers look out for in products. These ingredients are touted by dermatologists and beauty influencers, and well-known to have positive, gentle effects on skin and other beauty aspects.

These include:

  • Collagen – one or if not THE most well known beauty ingredient, collagen improves skin health and elasticity and is key for anti-aging.
  • Polyhydroxy acids (PHA) – Hydroxy acids are chemical exfoliators of dead skin. Compared to AHAs and BHAs, PHAs are the most gentle on skin and can be suitable for a variety of skin types.
  • Retinol – an antioxidant with anti-aging effects, it is a derivative of vitamin A.
  • Hyaluronic Acid – This ingredient is key for moisturization in summer and winter beauty products.
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide) – a vitamin not naturally produced by the body, it’s addition is good for brightening, anti-aging and reducing acne.
  • Vitamin C – a vitamin that serves as an antioxidant with anti-aging effects, good for hydrating and and improving skin tone and texture.
  • Glycerin – a hydrating agent that attracts and seals moisture without clogging pores.
  • Aloe Vera – soothing and moisturizing, it can be used to soothe acne and treat dry skin without clogging pores.
  • Bakuchiol – extracted from the leaves and seeds of the Psoralea corylifolia plant, it has antioxidizing and anti-aging properties
  • Cica – a leafy green herb that is antioxidizing, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, it is a soothing ingredient that is friendly for sensitive skin.

In Europe, there is an increasing trend to use exotic food ingredients in personal care as well. Aside from plant-based ingredients such as botanical extracts and essential oils, fruit such as avocado, baobab, mango, marula, moringa, acai, goji berry and papaya are getting more popular as well.

3. Increasingly Younger Global Market

With the pervasiveness of social media such as TikTok and Instagram amongst youths, there’s a heightened pressure for them to look their best on camera, to present a flattering self-image. This is likely why the skin care market is seeing a consumer base that is getting younger and younger.

Aside from using skin care to tackle teenage acne and other puberty-associated skin issues, youths are increasingly pursuing anti-aging products to prevent wrinkles at young age. In contrast, there is a decrease in the number of older consumers using skin care. In fact, a poll in the US found Gen Z to be the top spenders of skin care compared to millennials, Gen X and baby boomers.

It’s not a trend apparent only in the skin care niche either. The tween and teen beauty and personal care market in general has seen a progressive rise over the years. Colour cosmetics for nails and lips are popular, and brands are increasingly appealing to a younger audience as well. The typical age of entry into beauty products is dropping, from an age range of 8 to 12 to 7+.

In South Korea, a 2016 survey revealed that 42.7% of elementary school girls had experience using cosmetics. China is currently also experiencing a boom in children’s cosmetics.

4. Inclusivity in Beauty

Beauty is no longer a women-only market. Today, male personal grooming and gender-neutral makeup are starting to get more and more popular.

In Asia, the men’s skincare and makeup market has steadily been on the rise, with South Korean men accounting for a fifth of the global spend on men’s skincare back in 2018. This market has also grown tremendously in China as well, exceeding both South Korea and US back in 2020. In Europe, the male skincare market is estimated to see a market growth of 8.2% from 2020 to 2026.

In the past few years, there have been increasing calls to inclusivity, for beauty products appropriate for people of color as well. It’s no longer enough to have shades of cosmetics catered only to the pale and the fair. POC-owned beauty brands are on the rise, along with the awareness and demand for products for a variety of skin tones and skin types.

There is also increasing attention on older beauty consumers, beyond the age of 50. Some brands have recently begun to develop products that tackle menopausal concerns, reaching into a largely untapped demographic.

5. Clean, Natural and Organic

The consumer is becoming more socially aware and discerning. In many industries, not just beauty, people are favouring brands that produce products in a sustainable, eco-friendly way.

Gen Z and millennials are especially big on sustainable retail, playing their part in environmental conservation via their consumption choices. Research has noted their willingness to pay up to 10% more for sustainable options.

There is also growing appeal for products made from all-natural and even organic ingredients. This is particularly so in Europe, due to growing consumer awareness of the harmful effects of chemical compounds such as paraben and aluminium. In fact, the European Commission has banned specific chemicals such as parabens in beauty products, which remain approved in the US.

Between 2007 and 2018, the European natural and organic cosmetics market grew by $2.82 billion, and is expected to reach $5 billion by 2023. Consumers also look out for certifications that declare products as natural and organic, with the key standards being COSMOS and NATRUE in Europe. A Neilsen research study has also established the preference for natural beauty products, reporting findings that cosmetic products that are natural and paraben-free are growing five times faster than those that are only paraben-free.

Conclusion:

Taking into account the 5 current beauty trends observed, they provide insight on the type of niches, offers and marketing angles that will work best as we progress into 2022.

In summary, it’s becoming increasingly crucial to be discerning of the types of ingredients used in your offer, and to use more rational and informational marketing based on each of their beauty benefits. There is potential in broadening your audiences as well, be it increasing the age bracket or including men in your targeting.

Don’t miss out on these optimization opportunities!

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