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2017: The Year Of The Brand Chatbot?

January 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
2017 could the year of the chatbots for brands looking to automate consumer engagement. They reside within Messenger Services, like Skype and Facebook Messenger, as well as internal messenger services, like HipChat. They are becoming increasingly sophisticated with more user functionality, and as artificial intelligence becomes better understood, chatbots will be able to do even more, with development moving from what the bot builders believe consumers want to a machine-learned reflection of what they really want. Chatbots will proliferate and become an essential element of any integrated marketing campaign, supporting highly targeted campaigns delivered in the environment in which the consumer spends the majority of their online time.  
John Mccarthy, "What, Why and How: Chatbots for Brands", The Drum, January 06, 2017, © Carnyx Group Ltd.
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Kiehl's To Launch Skin Renewing Cream Aimed At Millennials

January 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
L’Oréal brand Kiehl’s is launching Pure Vitality Skin Renewing Cream, aimed at the Millennials by avoiding antiaging messages. Kiehl’s says that skin care today is focused on radiance and skin health rather than reversing indications of aging. Sources suggest retail sales of the cream could reach $40 million globally this year. Kiehl’s is marketing the product as 99.6 percent natural, and contains New Zealand manuka honey for antioxidants to combat environmental effects and for stimulating collagen, and South Korean red ginseng root for hydration and cell renewal.
Ellen Thomas , "Kiehl’s Makes a Play for Millennials With Healthy Skin Pitch", Women’s Wear Daily, January 05, 2017, © Penske Media Corporation
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Mass And Premium Continue To Drive Growth In Color Cosmetics

January 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
According to Euromonitor International, the color cosmetics market was worth US$57 billion globally in 2015, driven by growing incomes for women in growth markets like India and China. Nearly two-thirds of the market (64%) was mass products in which consumers came from across the income spectrum, with some consumers limited to the mass market through income constraints and others choosing mass options over premium, with a new wave of mass “fast fashion” cosmetics brands that align with trends and rely on high volumes. Premium continues to grow faster than mass, and Euromonitor expects to see a CAGR for the premium segment of 4% over the next five years, versus 3% for mass. It also expects North America to be the first majority-premium color cosmetics market by 2020. The color cosmetics market will continue to encounter broad consumer megatrends, for example in the form of sustainability and healthy living. And customization remains a major opportunity for brands in this category, with brands catering for different skin tones, religions and cultures.  
Hannah Symons, "Reinventing Colour Cosmetics through Novel Growth Concepts", Euromonitor International, January 05, 2017, © Euromonitor
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Unilever's Premium Skincare Play Could Improve Margins And Valuation

January 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Industry analysts Trefis believes that Unilever’s move into premium skincare, through a number of acquisitions, will help the company improve its EBITDA margins from a relatively low 18 percent to something closer to those generated by industry rivals. Trefis says that Unilever’s margins have been held down by relatively high marketing costs as a percentage of revenues; a reliance on mass, low-margin products; and increasing costs of raw materials, exacerbated by the impact of Brexit on sterling. A higher-margin, more premium-oriented portfolio will help address some of the pressures, supported by expected growth in the premium skin care segment and Unilever’s attack on costs from adoption of Zero Based Budgeting. Trefis believes Unilever could push up EBITDA margins to around 25 percent within a few years and the company’s valuation could improve by over 20 percent.
"Unilever’s Valuation Could Increase By 20% If Its Margins Rise Up to 25%", Trefis, January 05, 2017, © Insight Guru Inc.
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I Want My Beauty Treatment And I Want It NOW!

January 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Consumers increasingly want their beauty treatments as and when they want them and new businesses are emerging to serve this demand. Two broad business models are competing – retail ‘bars’ and apps offering at-home service. Retail bars offer a very defined service, often on a walk-in basis. Examples include Skin Laundry for a ‘15-minute laser & light facial’ ($65 base price), drybar for a wash and blow dry ($45) or Madison Reed Color Bar that will touch up your roots for $45 in 45 minutes. Other services available from similar beauty bars include makeup applications, chemical peels and eyelash extension application.

Against these retail offerings are apps that seek to be the Uber of beauty services, bringing together a range of professionals who will provide services at-home. Leaders include Zeel Massage (‘same-day, in-home massages with the best licensed and vetted massage therapists’),  The Ritualist (‘in-home skin care treatment’), Glamsquad (‘Your pro team for hair, makeup and nails—anytime, anywhere’), Vênsette (‘Luxury blowouts, hairstyles, and makeup on demand’),and most recently, Colour (‘the first app for in-home hairstyling, on demand, created by women of color, for women of color’). Both business models work best in dense urban populations but this is truer of apps that need to balance demand and work flow for a team of contractors.  In both cases, venture funding is bankrolling service rollouts in the hope of securing a position in ‘convenient beauty.’ [Image credit © Image Source]
Rachel Strugatz, "Beauty Services War: Beauty ‘Bars’ Versus On-Demand", Women’s Wear Daily, January 05, 2017, © Penske Media Corporation
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Revlon Names Gwen Stefani As Brand Ambassador

January 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Revlon announced the appointment of celebrity Gwen Stefani as its latest brand ambassador. With the brand planning to feature Stefani in various digital-first campaigns, the pop singer will appear in Revlon’s Choose Love campaign, which will run on broadcast, digital, and social media. Also, the brand’s designed-for-mobile website offers behind-the-scenes looks and content from the celebrity’s campaigns. Content will also be available on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat.
Rakin Azfar, "Revlon will Feature New Brand Ambassador Gwen Stefani in Digital Content", Mobile Marketer, January 04, 2017, © Napean LLC
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Kérastase And Withings Unveil Smart Hairbrush At CES

January 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
At the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, professional hair care brand Kérastase, together with connected health company Withings and L’Oréal’s Research and Innovation Technology Incubator, unveiled its new smart hairbrush - the Kérastase Hair Coach Powered by Withings. Fitted with advanced sensors and incorporating L’Oréal’s signal analysis algorithms, which score hair quality and track the impact of hair care routines, the hairbrush received this year’s International CES Innovation Award. Sensors capture sounds, the force applied when brushing, brushing patterns and the number of brush strokes, and whether the hair is wet or dry. The collected data are sent to the app via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to a dedicated mobile app. Using external data, such as weather conditions, the app tracks the way the user cares for her hair and provides personalized tips and Kérastase product recommendations. It will be available around mid-2017 at select Kérastase hair salons, the brand’s website and through Withings’ online sales and distribution channels, for below $200.
"Kerastase and Withings Unveil World’s First Smart Hairbrush at CES 2017", L’Oreal, January 04, 2017, © L’Oréal
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Hawthorne For Men Matches Cologne To Consumer's Characteristics And Preferences

January 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The Hawthorne for Men website invites visitors to answer questions about themselves and their habits and preferences, and then matches the responses to a cologne scent. The direct-to-consumer brand is targeting the eau de parfum market for men, which had sales of almost $70 million in 2015, according to NPD. The user is offered two options from the 10 formulas available: one a bold scent and another that is subtler. Each bottle costs $100. The company is confident it can accurately match the scent, but exchanges and returns are straightforward and returns are less than five percent, exchange requests are under 10 percent.
Dena Silver, "This Cologne Brand Accurately Chooses a Scent for You", Observer, January 04, 2017, © The New York Observer, L.P.
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Research Suggests An Omnichannel Strategy Can Boost Traditional Retailer Sales

January 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
In a rare piece of good news for traditional retailers that have for years seen slow growth and share declines – digital channel sales rose 23% in 2015 and 26% of all online retail sales now go to Amazon – research published in Harvard Business Review suggests that an omnichannel approach can give them an advantage. Omnichannel strategies aim to engage shoppers through multiple touchpoints and provide a seamless shopping experience across digital and brick-and-mortar platforms. Retailers that do this well can differentiate themselves through providing a multi-channel experience pure-plays simply can’t.  Researchers found that omnichannel consumers, which are by far the majority (73% in this study), commonly interact with retailers in many different ways – in-store, online, on mobile. Importantly, these consumer spend some 4% more per shopping occasion than single-channel shoppers, while customers who used 4+ channels spent 9% more in the store, on average, when compared to those who used just one channel. They are also more loyal, as measured by repeat shopping trips and likelihood they’ll recommend a brand to family and friends. [Image credit © Zero Creatives]
Emma Sopadjieva et al., "A Study of 46,000 Shoppers Shows That Omnichannel Retailing Works", Harvard Business Review, January 03, 2017, © Harvard Business School Publishing
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Burt’s Bees Extends Product Line Into Functional Foods

January 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Personal care company Burt’s Bees has entered the functional food market with protein shakes targeted at consumers seeking beauty from "the inside out." The company that has specialized for three decades in selling natural lip and skincare products has developed three protein shakes – Daily Protein, Protein +Gut Health with Probiotics, and Protein + Healthy Radiance with Antioxidant Vitamins A, C & E – that provide 15 grams of protein per serving from peas, rice, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, and oats. General Manager Jim Geikie said the move into functional foods “is a natural extension for us.” The shakes range in price from $29.99 to $39.99. Each contains 16-18 servings per tub. [ Image credit: ©  Burt's Bees  ]
"Burt's Bees Enters New Category with Plant-Based Protein Shakes", News release, Burt's Bees, January 02, 2017, © Burt's Bees
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Unilever, Coca-Cola And Lush Feature In Warc Brand Purpose Readership List

January 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Warc’s annual readership data indicates that a number of brands featured in articles on purpose-driven marketing over the last year. Warc said that Lush’s discussion of its mission and strategy was a particularly popular article, and the company says that it’s important to be both open and honest about where it buys its ingredients, how it runs its business, and the claims it makes. Unilever also featured, with one talking about its initiatives in brand activism, which goes beyond “beautiful narratives”. It also featured in another, in a report from the Guardian Changing Media Summit 2016 on how Unilever and Coca-Cola build brand purpose.  
"Best of 2016: Purpose", Warc, January 02, 2017, © Warc
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Natural Personal Care Products Gain Traction In Traditional Retailers, Benefit From Key TrendsNatural Personal Care Products

December 30, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Non-toxic beauty is moving to the mainstream as strong sales growth – in 2015, natural and organic personal care grew 8 percent in natural retail – cause traditional retailers to make space available for natural products. It’s also gaining traction with high-end outlets as some natural products push into prestige, suggesting its penetration will continue to grow. New Hope identified nine important trends in natural personal care. These include a shift in consumer sentiment, with consumers increasingly buying natural products not because of what they avoid, but because of what they offer. Innovation and improvements now means naturals are making claims and offering benefits that consumers want.  Another important shift came with the FDA’s 2016 ban of triclosan and 17 other chemicals used in hand and body washes marketed as "antibacterial," which is causing some traditional products to reformulate, often in a naturals direction, shining a development light for other products.  Last, research is starting to show the potential of naturals. One example is growing understanding about how microbiomes matter, especially for skin health. Research is underlining the importance of gut health and ‘good bacteria’ on the skin in promoting healthy skin. Products with topical probiotics will emerge and could bring large benefits. [Image credit © Peter Muller]
Jessica Rubino, "9 natural personal care predictions for 2017", New Hope , December 30, 2016, © Penton Media
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Green Beauty Provides Brands With New Opportunities, And Challenges

December 28, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A blog post from Euromonitor International says that developments in digital social communication allow consumers to get better information on the health impact of beauty product ingredients and also their social and environmental impact. This provides new opportunities for new product formulations, positioning and benefits.’ Green beauty’ has many social and environmental perspectives, but consumer preference for ingredients that are derived naturally is still a key driver. ‘Healthy beauty’ is getting a broader remit, with beauty brands extending into fitness and relaxation. ‘Clean labeling’ is another food and beverage trend with relevance for beauty, and beauty brands are seeking a simpler, more back-to-basics approach: fewer and more natural ingredients. The focus on ingredients also provides opportunities for brands looking to conform to certain religious values, and the demand for halal-certified beauty products has seen steady growth in some markets with affluent Muslim populations. The impact of environmental pollution on skin is opening up opportunities for beauty products that address these concerns, but proving efficacy in this respect remains a challenge for brands. In a broader operational sense, consumers want to know that brands are also serious about corporate and social responsibility, and brands are looking, for example, to develop affordable alternatives for ingredients used in regions where water is scarce. ‘Green beauty’ faces many difficult challenges, but demand will be there for green beauty products that can meet the requirements of the more conscious consumer, but without compromising on performance.
Ildiko Szalai, "The Broadening Meaning of ‘Green’ Beauty Opens New Growth Platforms", Euromonitor International, December 28, 2016, © Euromonitor
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Discount Stores, Drugstores, Grocery Stores Favorite Sources Of Health And Beauty Aids Of Almost Three-Fourths Of US Consumers, Report Says

December 23, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In the US, discount stores, drugstores, and grocery stores combined are the top store formats, with 73.8 percent of consumers purchasing health and beauty care products as of November 2016, according to Fung Global Retail & Technology. Data from the market research firm's report, “US Health and Beauty AIDS Consumer Survey” revealed online stores account for 4.2 percent, significantly higher than the 1.0 percent recorded in November 2011. About 42 percent of respondents said they purchased some or all of their health and beauty aids online, while online retailers accounted for 8.7 percent of value share in the segment.
"US Health and Beauty AIDS Consumer Survey: Amazon is Not Only Competitive in Price, but Also in Customer Satisfaction", Fung Global Retail Tech, December 23, 2016, © The Fung Group
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Hygge Concept Opens Opportunities For BPC Brands In The UK

December 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
According to Mintel, the UK is embracing “hygge”, a Danish concept that combines relaxation, fun and comfort, and Mintel suggests that this could present opportunities for beauty and personal care brands. Hygge can be an individual or informal group activity, typically at home and involving food and drink. Mintel mentioned the August 2016 launch of Sanctuary Spa’s #LetGo campaign, aimed at encouraging consumers to relax, and 58 Lifestyle has launched the Hygge Kit, which includes candles, bath oil and a room mist. Mintel also expects the hygge trend to provide opportunities too for the subscription box market.
Charlotte Libby, "Beauty Spot: Hygge", Mintel, December 22, 2016, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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L'Oréal To Benefit From Global Cosmeceutical Market Growth

December 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Highlighting a recent report from Research and Markets that projects global cosmeceutical market CAGR of 5.95% over the next five years, industry analysts Trefis outline how L’Oréal is well placed to take advantage. Market growth is expected to be driven by consumer trust in physician recommendations, the aging global population, the growth in demand for premium products, and growth in the global beauty and personal care industry as a whole. Trefis expects L’Orêal’s Active Cosmetics division, the company’s fastest-growing segment, to gain from this growth, helped by its partnerships with healthcare professionals, which supports innovation in this area, and the company’s distribution framework - a multi-channel approach incorporating digital tools. L’Oréal also sells products in this category through dermacenters, e-commerce and travel retail.  
"Here’s How L’Oreal Stands To Gain From The Growing Cosmeceuticals Market", Trefis, December 22, 2016, © Insight Guru Inc.
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Is The Contrary Consumer Simply Frustrated With Marketers?

December 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The job of marketing is being complicated by contradictory consumer behavior. Consumers say they want a slower life but make quick purchase choices, and that health and wellness is a key priority for them, yet sales of products with unhealthy ingredients are still growing. The author wonders if the consumer is simply cynical of the marketers’ messages, and maybe that’s just a part of a broader feeling of distrust of a range of institutions, including government. Promises are made, and then broken. Trends help create the assumptions on which marketers base their approach to reaching the consumer, but those assumptions are increasingly being questioned. They are too general, unsophisticated and often flawed. There have always been “contrary consumers”, but now there is also a growing band of consumers that don’t like to be told what to do and like.  
"The Contrarian Consumer", Adworld, December 22, 2016, © Adworld Ventures Limited
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Sephora To Revamp Underperforming Fragrance Category Using Education and Engagement

December 21, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Sephora is looking to revamp its fragrance business, building its strategy around engagement and education. Fragrance is an underperforming category at Sephora where it accounts for about 10 percent of sales, lagging behind beauty and skincare. CEO, Calvin McDonald, recognizes that Sephora’s current offering fails to differentiate and that the category generally has been “commoditized by discounts.” Working on the insight that buying a fragrance is both a bewildering and personal experience, Sephora is looking to engage and educate consumers so they feel empowered to buy. Online it has buying guides to help consumers clarify their perfume profiles and in-store it has set up demonstrations.  “We know that finding a fragrance is a personal experience, but it needs to be simplified and smart as it can be an overwhelming selection process,” said Brooke Banwart, VP of fragrance merchandising at Sephora. The company has been experimenting with “InstaScent” stations (previously called “Poof”) that let customers smell isolated notes to figure out which elements of fragrances they prefer and to learn about different “scent families.” The approach is similar to its beauty strategy where it uses video tutorial stations to help customers experiment with and perfect different makeup looks. 
 
Fragrance generally looks set for a shift to demystify and simplify purchasing, with valuable lessons likely available from other categories such as wine that has for years worked to make buying fun (and not stuffy) and shows ongoing innovation with different ways to purchase.  [ Image credit © David Goldman ]
Hilary Milnes, "How Sephora is Revamping its Fragrance Category", Glossy, December 21, 2016, © Digiday Media
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Global Male Grooming Market Set For Strong Growth Says PMR

December 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Persistence Market Research believes that the $54 billion male grooming category will grow at a CAGR of 8.4 percent through 2024, and Europe, with almost 40 percent of the global market, will stay the most attractive region for the category. Germany, France, and the UK account for half of the European sales. Shave care and fragrances will be the top segments in North America, and China will drive growth in Asia. Global growth is being supported by e-commerce, which will account for over $12 billion of the additional sales through 2024. PMR expects global sales of men's shave care products to be more than $40 billion by 2024, hair care products will represent about 10 percent of the category, but men’s toiletries will lose share. PMR believes P&G will remain a dominant player globally, with over 10 percent share, but local players will “collectively dominate” with nearly one-third of the market, and this will encourage acquisitions by global players.
"Promises Fulfilled: Men's grooming is booming", Happi, December 20, 2016, © Rodman Media
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Sustainability Remained A Key Theme For Unilever In 2016

December 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
If there’s one message that Unilever is pushing at the moment above all others, it’s sustainability, and 2016 provided plenty of evidence, with a raft of corporate social responsibility initiatives and sustainability awards. With another 400 added during the year, it now boasts 600 zero waste to landfill sites, and it announced two major campaigns, one aimed at removing sexist and stereotype-based advertising and one from Dove to promote diversity and realism in marketing. Unilever admits it’s not all about altruism, but a strategic necessity. It claims that its brands that are in line with its sustainable living plan are growing faster. Its public image was, however, damaged as a result of a spat un the UK with Tesco over Brexit-related pricing. Also this year, it announced a new factory in Cuba, opened a new one in Ethiopia, is looking for sites in Colombia, and investing more in Nigeria. But, Unilever was relatively quiet on the acquisition front, although the Dollar Shave Club deal caused quite a stir.  
Georgina Caldwell, "2016 in review: Unilever – set on sustainability", Global Cosmetics News, December 19, 2016, © Global Cosmetic Media Limited
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New Beauty Company Glansaol Acquires Three Brands

December 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Glansaol, a new US-based prestige beauty and personal care company formed through a partnership between industry veteran Alan T. Ennis and Warburg Pincus, a private equity company, announced three acquisitions: Laura Geller New York, a prestige color cosmetics brand known as the pioneer of the "baked" makeup category; Julep, a prestige color cosmetics and skincare brand; and Clark's Botanicals, a premium skincare brand. Glansaol’s owners aim to make it a global company through acquisitions, building a portfolio of premium and complementary brands. [ Image credit: Neil Guegan
"Glansaol Established as New Prestige Beauty & Personal Care Company", PR Newswire, December 19, 2016, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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A Busy Year For Sephora

December 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
2016 has been a busy year for Sephora. Online, it has two new bot-powered beauty tools for Facebook's Messenger. The new Sephora Reservation Assistant allows customers to book appointments for makeovers at Sephora stores, and Color Match is a shade matching extension for the Sephora Virtual Artist bot. It has also been working to provide more of an ominchannel experience for shoppers, and is also rumored to be looking to expand its physical footprint too, with a store outlet in London’s Westfield shopping center. Further afield, it has see growth in India and opened a new distribution center in Poland. In Brazil, it is expanding distribution by rolling out its products in El Corte Ingles stores.  
Louise Prance Miles, "2016 in review: Sephora – the digital disruptor", Global Cosmetics News, December 19, 2016, © Global Cosmetic Media Limited
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Shiseido To Launch Elixir Skincare Range In China

December 14, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Japanese brand Shiseido is launching the Elixir line of skincare products in China in January 2017 through 10 dedicated outlets, with the first in Shanghai. The stores will incorporate Japanese imagery, and will be augmented with e-commerce. Prices will be some 30% higher than in Japan, and production will shift from Vietnam to Osaka to allow Shiseido to claim the products are "made in Japan." The Elixir line has proved popular with Chinese tourists to Japan. 53 percent of the company’s sales are from overseas and the company is also reinforcing its position in the US and Europe.

 
"With skin care sales, Shiseido seeks fresh Chinese image", Nikkei, December 14, 2016, © Nikkei Inc.
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Trends In Cosmetics For 2016

December 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Looking back over the year, the author highlights some of the trends observed in cosmetics ingredients. 2016 was a year for product aesthetics with manufacturers using a variety of materials to make a sensory statement, but it’s also increasingly important to hit the market with new products fast and first, but without compromising on quality, compliance or appeal. The popularity of natural and organic has been sustained, but consumers are also expecting to be allowed more customization opportunities, and material suppliers will meet this by giving brands greater flexibility. 2016 also saw launches with increasingly sophisticated science incorporated, especially meeting anti-aging demand for skin care products, and hair care was also a huge growth area for materials this year, offering solutions for hair and scalp problems.
Belinda Carli, "Top 6 Cosmetics Trends of 2016", SpecialChem, December 13, 2016, © SpecialChem
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L’Oréal’s Beauty Squad Is Yet Another Example That Authenticity Pays Off Online

December 12, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A review of how L’Oréal Paris in the UK leveraged relationships with video bloggers underscores the benefit of a shrewd but straight up approach. A few months ago the company worked with five vloggers that combined have 5.5 million views with the aim of working with Kristina Bazaan, the brand’s global digital influencer, to boost the brand and maintain its position as the ‘go-to digital beauty brand.’ Rather than work with one or two vloggers that have wider reach, working with the five members of the Beauty Squad allows L’Oréal Paris to better reach a range of ages and ethnicities. Also, while each vlogger has a smaller base, they are selected for their knowledge and expertise. L’Oréal hopes that by building long-term relationships and seeking honest and comparative reviews it will manage to convince consumers over the long haul.  
"Here’s How L’Oreal Is Gaining Competitive Advantage With Its ‘Beauty Squad’ ", Trefis, December 12, 2016, © Insight Guru Inc.
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Estee Lauder Launches New Anti-Aging Products

December 12, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Market analysts Trefis say that Estée Lauder is reinforcing its anti-aging beauty position by launching a number of new products to suit all skin types, containing extract of Moringa. The products are Global Anti-Aging Cell Power Creme, Global Anti-Aging Wake Up Balm, and the Revitalizing Supreme Plus Global Anti-Aging Collection. The launch indicates the importance the company places on mature consumers and the anti-aging beauty segment, which was worth some $30 billion in 2015 and is forecast to grow at a CAGR of around 5 percent through 2020.
"Here’s How Estee Lauder Is Strengthening Its Position In The Anti-Aging Market", Trefis, December 12, 2016, © Insight Guru Inc.
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Aldi UK To Launch New Anti-Ageing Skin Line For A Limited Period

December 12, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Aldi, the German discount supermarket, is launching a new anti-ageing skincare line in the UK, called Lacura VITACELL. It’s aimed at competing with premium skincare products, and contains Complex TCR3® to prolong the life of skin cells, as well as stem cells from sea plants to promote skin elasticity and structure. The products will be on the shelves as a Specialbuy in early February 2017 with limited supply.
"Aldi Launches Premium Anti-Ageing Skincare Range", International Supermarket News, December 12, 2016, © Retail Magazine
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Kao Sets Out 2030 Vision And 2020 Intermediate Goals

December 12, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Kao Group has published its 2030 vision, together with mid-term goals for the four years spanning Fiscal 2017 to 2020. Kao says it wants to combine profitable growth with making a contribution to global sustainability. Its 2030 vision covers a “distinctive corporate image”, being a highly profitable global company, and providing strong stakeholder returns. Its financial objectives include exceeding JPY2.5 trillion in net sales, with JPY 1.0 trillion from outside Japan, an operating margin of over 17 percent, and a return on equity of more than 20 percent. Its medium-term (K20) goals include a commitment to “fostering” the corporate image (one that embodies the concept of Kirei, a word that evinces attributes such as health, purity, beauty and fairness); a commitment to profitable growth, including net sales CAGR of +5 percent and an operating margin of over 15 percent; and a commitment to stakeholder returns, including continuous growth in cash dividends, improvement in employee benefits and conditions, and measures to tackle social issues, as well as benefiting customers.
"Kao Group Announced New Mid-term Plan "K20"", Kao, December 12, 2016, © Kao Corporation
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Procter & Gamble Names Celebrity Hairstylist Polko Aussie Brand Ambassador

December 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Procter & Gamble's haircare brand Aussie announced the appointment of celebrity hairstylist Laura Polko as brand ambassador. Well-known for her advertising, editorial, and hairstyling skills and successes, Polko will share her styling tips and insights on how to create beautiful and easy-to-do look and hairstyle. She will also offer tips on how to use Aussie products as “the foundation for looking one's best” and creating any hairstyle.
"Aussie Announces Celebrity Hairstylist Laura Polko as Brand Ambassador and Spokesperson", Business Wire, December 08, 2016, © Business Wire, Inc.
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Beauty And Personal Care Market Expected To See Increase In M&A Deals, Report Says

December 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
According to an A.T. Kearney report, the beauty and personal care market is due for a new wave of consolidation, with merger and acquisition activity forecast to speed up. Results of a detailed review of 214 M&A deals in the beauty and personal care market completed in 2010 to 2016 are presented. The two factors driving M&A activity in the BPC sector are slow or stagnant growth in the market’s core segments and the highly concentrated state of the industry. Other main drivers include access to consumers, access to innovation, and access to distribution channels.
Hana Ben-Shabat and Andrea Szasz , "Shop or Drop: The Inevitable Path for Growth in Beauty", Report, A.T. Kearney, December 08, 2016, © A.T. Kearney Holdings Limited
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Mintel Report Highlights Four North American Consumer Trends

December 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Mintel’s new report on North America consumer trends highlights four topics. The first, which the author calls “The Echo Chamber of Secrets”, suggests that the rush to personalization means consumers are only being shown ideas and services they already identify with and brands need more disruption to help reach inside consumers’ “bubbles” to encourage them to extend beyond their comfort zones. “Reality 2.0” reflects the growing demand for novel experiences that enable the consumer to become more immersed in their chosen worlds, through technology like virtual and augmented reality, and live streaming. Mintel says consumers are becoming frustrated with inaction by “the system” and encourages brands to “Be the Change”. The fourth trend, “Life in Sync”, suggests that the strides being made by artificial intelligence are making life smarter and more seamless.
Carli Gernot , "Trend Tracker: North America Consumer Trends 2017 (1/2)", Mintel, December 07, 2016, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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Beauty Brands Choosing Humor To Reach Consumers

December 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The beauty industry is tapping into the power of humor in the same way that other consumer product categories have done, recognizing that Millennials are rejecting some of the characteristics of traditional beauty advertising, including promoting what some see as an unattainable body image, and demanding authenticity and transparency. Also, the established beauty companies are facing intensifying competition from emerging independent brands and need to use new approaches to retain their consumer base. Humor has been used particularly for products aimed at men, and it helps generally to make the beauty category more accessible, alongside other unconventional marketing approaches, such as Dove’s concept of real beauty.
Nick Dormon, "Beauty Just for Laughs?", Beauty Packaging, December 05, 2016, © Rodman Media
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In LatAm, Direct Sales Struggles In Face Of Multiple Challenges

December 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Reach of direct selling in LatAm, traditionally its strongest market, is falling and now stands at a three-year low. Today, over 62 million households in the region buy from door-to-door reps but this is down from a high of about 64 million. Its popularity has been hit by the rise of convenience stores but especially drugstores that are proving the preferred channel for many consumers, notably 70% in Peru and 55% in Columbia. Investment in and reinvention of drugstores is capturing consumers – they can test and compare products in the store, pay by more options and get advice from instore advisors. Online is also taking share with consumers attracted by its range of products, price and convenience. Mary Kay is one player that is managing to buck the trend. Its investments to modernize, better reward reps and an online support channel have enabled it to grow penetration over 80% in the last three years.
Cecilia Alva, "LatAms' favorite channel faces new challenges", Kantar Worldpanel, December 05, 2016, © Kantar Worldpanel
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Estee Lauder Selling Direct In London Pop-Up Christmas Store

December 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
As beauty brands seek new ways to get closer to consumers, Estée Lauder has opened a pop-up store, at its head office in central London for the lead up to Christmas. The shop is selling limited edition items from its best-known brands, such Bumble & Bumble, Estée Lauder, Origins and La Mer. The pop-up is also hosting a number of beauty workshops.
Kim Benjamin , "Estee Lauder opens Christmas pop-up", Event Magazine, December 05, 2016, © Haymarket Media Group Ltd.
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Mary Kay Appoints Julia Simon As Chief Legal Officer And Corporate Secretary

December 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Beauty care brand and direct-selling company Mary Kay Inc. announced the appointment of Julia A. Simon as chief legal officer and corporate secretary. Simon will be a member of the company’s executive committee and will oversee Mary Kay’s legal, risk management, corporate communications, and corporate social responsibility operations. With more than 25 years of legal experience in both private practice and corporate positions, Simon first joined Mary Kay in 1995 as an employment lawyer.
"Mary Kay Inc. Names Julia Simon Chief Legal Officer And Secretary", Mary Kay, December 05, 2016, © Mary Kay
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Urban Decay The Only Genius Beauty Brand In L2's 2016 Beauty Digital IQ Index

December 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
L2 has published its 2016 Digital IQ Index® for Beauty. There’s just one Genius brand this year, down from five in 2015, and L2 says brands from large companies have to compete with agile rivals as social media and e-tailers like Amazon weaken barriers to entry. The top brand is L’Oréal’s Urban Decay, with a Digital IQ of 142. L2 says the brand “boasts the most sophisticated mobile site in the Index”, featuring an augmented reality app. Two brands share second spot at 136: Benefit, which is prioritizing mobile and responds fast on Facebook Live; and Maybelline, the “most visible brand in the Index when it comes to paid search.” Lancôme, MAC, L’Oréal, Bobbi Brown, Clinique, Kiehl’s and Too Faced fill the remaining top 10 spots.
Elisabeth Rosen, "Top 10 Beauty Brands in Digital", L2, December 05, 2016, © L2 Inc.
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Ulta Target Millennials With AR App, Seeking To Make Buying Fun And Interactive

December 2, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Online sales for Ulta Beauty continue to grow strongly –Q3 online sales rose 59.3% from $46.2 million to $73.6 million, and now comprise 6.5% of total sales, up from 5.0% last year.  Some two-thirds of traffic is coming via mobile and the company is seeking to play to this with the launch of Glam Lab, an iOS and Android app that lets shoppers virtually try out products before buying them. Users upload a selfie or choose a model with a similar complexion then choose the products and shades to test.  “It’s a great thing for millennials who wanted to have a more interactive experience,” said CEO Mary Dillon.  Hints of the company’s intent came clear in October when it filed a trademark for Glam Lab that would be a multi-platform application that would include augmented reality.  
 
 


 
Matt Lindner, "Ulta Goes Glam on Mobile", Internet Retailer, December 02, 2016, © Vertical Web Media
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Estee Lauder UK Warns Of Possible Price Rises In Wake Of Brexit Vote

December 2, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
With downward pressure on sterling resulting from the UK’s anticipated exit from the EU, brand manufacturers in the UK are finding margins squeezed by higher import costs. The head of Estée Lauder in the UK has warned that the company might need to consider price increases, but said it will be as considerate to consumers are possible. Prestige in the UK has benefited so far from sterling’s plunge as overseas shoppers take advantage of the exchange rate. The NPD Group estimate that prestige beauty sales have grown much faster since the June referendum than in the six months leading up to it, but warns that this pace is probably not sustainable as economic conditions change.  
Lucy Whitehouse , "Estee Lauder puts consumer first in the face of Brexit", Cosmetics Design , December 02, 2016, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Marketers Must Rethink Their Approach For Gen-Z Consumers

December 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
As the end of the year approaches, it’s time for predictions for the coming year, and Kantar Millward Brown have weighed in with their thoughts on how companies  will have to market to Generation-Z, the post-Millennials group. This group wants creative content led by mobile, and marketers will have to create strong brand experiences for them, including sophisticated and brand-centric programmatic targeting, rather than more intrusive media that risks ad blocking. Kantar Millward Brown provides six takeaways: brands will re-think for the digital space, emphasizing issues such as authenticity and transparency; brand experience is increasingly key; content marketing will gain momentum, particularly on mobile, with marketers innovating and experimenting in content and formats; advertisers and their agencies will need more sophisticated and blended targeting approaches to drive brand effectiveness; the advertising industry will be forced to respond to ad blocking; and advertisers and agencies will be given more opportunity to leverage media synergies.
"Media & Digital Predictions 2017", Kantar Milward Brown, December 01, 2016, © Kantar Milward Brown
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Korean Beauty Brands Riding The Wave Of K-Pop Interest in China

December 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A survey from FT Confidential Research on the Chinese cosmetics market found that South Korean brands were catching US and European labels, especially among young consumers, reflecting their interest in K-pop culture. L’Oréal is still the most popular brand, but the popularity of US and European brands generally is waning as Korean brands strengthen their hold. Popular Korean brands include Laneige and Amorepacific, and western brand companies are not ignoring this trend. LVMH has invested in Korean cosmetics company Clio, and last year Estée Lauder acquired a stake in Have & Be, which owns the DR Jart+ and Do The Right Things brands. Chinese cosmetics purchasers are particularly interested in BB and CC skin creams, but the cosmetics market generally is seeing strong growth in China, helped by the Government scrapping the 30 percent consumption tax on mass cosmetics products and halving it for premium items. E-commerce was the favored channel for younger shoppers, but the over-35s still prefer to buy in malls and supermarkets.
"South Korean cosmetics a hit among young Chinese as K-pop booms", Nikkei, December 01, 2016, © Nikkei Inc.
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Luxury Skincare Solutions Likely To Become More Personalized, Technological

December 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Euromonitor reports that the number of hair and beauty treatment establishments globally is up 14% on 2011 and the company expects a 14% CAGR over the next five years with the number of establishments to exceed three million by 2019. A growing number of these upscale treatment centers offer their own skincare ranges, raising challenges for established prestige and luxury products.  Dr Gabriela Mercik, who has both a treatment center and a skincare range, believes that in the next 5-10 years technology and digital information will play an ever greater part in skincare solutions:"Soon we will be able to implement a tiny chip into the skin which will measure our skin’s hydration levels as well as record any sun damage. This information will then be used to create our very own personalised skincare which will be blended to work according not only to the time of day but also to where we live and the overall state of our health."
Fflur Roberts, "Digital Moisturisers and Nanotechnology: Euromonitor International Talks to Dr Gabriela Mercik about the Launch of her New Luxury Cosmetics Range and the Future of Skincare", Euromonitor International, December 01, 2016, © Euromonitor
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In-Person Shopping Way More Important Than Online For Cosmetics And Grooming Products

December 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A recent Harris Poll found that in-person purchases remain dominant for cosmetic and grooming products, and especially so for trialing and first time purchases.  The research underlined the importance of in-person channels, finding that around 90% of purchasers shop in-person for a range of personal care items, including hair styling products, shampoos and conditioners, cosmetics, non-sunscreen products with SPF protection, and sunscreen.  “Big box” retailers continue to be the preferred purchase location. Online channels are more popular for smaller items, with 40% of purchasers shopping online for cosmetics and 34% for facial/skin care products. They are less likely to shop online for bulkier items, likely reflecting shipping costs: just 17% shop online for shampoo/conditioner and 22% for sunscreen.  In all this, price remains the most important determinant of where consumers will purchase: 87% say they’ll buy a product wherever they can get the best deal.
"Brick and Mortar Merchants Remain Top Purchasing Location for Cosmetic & Grooming Product Consumers", Harris Poll, December 01, 2016, © Harris Poll
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Neem Represents An Opportunity For Personal Care And Beauty Brands

December 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
It's one source of ingredients used in Ayurvedic treatments, but the neem tree is not so well known outside India. Its seeds and fruits are used to make neem oil, for treating a number of ailments and promoting healthy skin and hair. Neem in some form is used in the majority of Ayurvedic remedies because of its antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and other properties. It's a common ingredient for high-end spas and salons in India, and often found in households, but has a strong odor and bitter taste, making it difficult to consume. It’s gaining attention in other parts of Asia, as well as the United States and Germany.
Mituri Pradip Sharma, "Neem: A Little Known Body Care Solution", Natural Products Insider, December 01, 2016, © Informa Exhibitions, LLC
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Established Beauty Brands Evolving To Fight Fast-Growing Indie Brands

November 30, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In its report, “Digital IQ Index: Beauty US 2016”, L2 highlights efforts beauty brands are making to keep pace with competition from indie brands, which have been able to compete with established brands where barriers to entry have been lowered by social media and e-tailers, such as Amazon. Brands like Anastasia Beverly Hills have seen rapid growth and have reinvested profits to bolster their direct-to-consumer sales channel. They are increasingly becoming acquisition targets for larger beauty companies fighting an “arms race.” Recent deals include Estée Lauder’s acquisition of BECCA Cosmetics and Too Faced, and L’Oréal’s grab for IT Cosmetics. L2 also says that Masstige beauty brands are learning from fast fashion brands, and are disrupting the beauty scene by being first to market trending products, supported by strong merchandising, and some alike NYX and e.l.f. Cosmetics are opening physical stores. 2016’s Digital IQ Index® benchmarks 99 beauty brands. L’Oréal’s Urban Decay came top, followed by Benefit from the LVMH stable, and then two more L’Oréal brands, Maybelline and Lancôme. L’Oréal featured twice more in the top 10, with L’Oréal Paris and Kiehl’s.
"Digital IQ Index® Beauty US 2016", L2 Inc, November 30, 2016, © L2 Inc
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Premiumization Driving Sales In Many Categories Worldwide

December 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A Nielsen report highlights the strength of the premiumization trend that is driving sales around the world and looks set to continue as powerful underlining shifts play out. Rising income and a desire for exceptional quality (cited by 54% as a factor in premium purchases) and superior performance (46%), are core drivers. Interestingly, Nielsen finds that products with social or environmental benefits have premium potential. Some 42% of global respondents say they’d be very willing to pay a premium for products made with organic or all-natural ingredients, while nearly the same proportion (39%) say they’d pay extra for sustainable or environmentally friendly products.
 
Premium is well established in many markets – it already accounts for about 25% of dollar sales in both the personal-care category in the U.S. and Southeast Asia and is growing faster than other segments.  In Southeast Asia, for example, the premium segment grew 21% from 2012 to 2014, over double the rate of the mainstream and value tiers (8% and 10%, respectively). Strong and growing levels of consumer acceptance indicate the segment will continue to expand. Nielsen states that over 25% of global respondents say they’ll consider buying premium personal-care product:  hair-care (27%), body-care (26%) and oral-care (26%).
More: we previously looked at prestige strategies in India. [Image credit © KMM Productions]
"Global Premiumization Report: Moving Up", Nielsen , December 01, 2016, © The Nielsen Company
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London Shoppers Can Get Estee Lauder Purchases Delivered In An Hour

December 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Shoppers in London won’t have to wait long for Estée Lauder products they buy this Christmas. The Estee Lauder Companies is to launch on Facebook’s Messenger service in the UK, enabling it to deliver in an hour within London, according to a report in The Telegraph, and will also open a pop-up shop near its London headquarters on Mortimer Street. The Messenger bot communicates with customers using artificial intelligence, and the customers can choose an instant courier within London. The company is embracing digital and recently established a mentoring program for senior managers to learn about social media from younger employees.
Gurjit Degun, "Estee Lauder launches on Facebook Messenger for 60-minute deliveries", Campaign Live, December 01, 2016, © Haymarket Media Group Ltd.
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Bloggers Are Challenging Beauty Industry’s Standard Business Practices, Creating Headaches For Established Players

November 30, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Social media has spawned many bloggers that are starting to shake up the beauty industry, changing what we expect from makeup, how models get noticed and how brands go to market. These bloggers are often young and with little experience of or allegiance to established ways of doing business and some players are irritated. Social media tends to homogenize and makeup is now tilting to “Instagram makeup” that relies on strong contouring and highlighting as popularized by Kim Kardashian West, leaving some makeup artists frustrated.  Aspiring models are offering time and photoshoots to popular bloggers and cutting out agents in the process. And some brands are working with bloggers to promote launches, some with notable success. While brands previously focused on those bloggers with largest reach some are now working with influencers with a smaller, perhaps more dedicated audience where there’s a stronger overlap in values: “…brands that will be successful and the influencers who will be successful are those who keep the idea of authenticity,” said Robert DeBaker, the CEO of Becca Cosmetics.
Crystal Martin, "Instagram Face’: Is It the End of Good Makeup?", The New York Times, November 30, 2016, © The New York Times Company
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Avon Strategy - Get Leaner And Double Down On Beauty

November 29, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Following its recent restructuring, Avon’s broad strategy continues to clarify. In its latest investor presentation the company emphasized its three-pronged approach: drive out costs through improving its operating model and supply chain (target savings of $350MM), strengthening its balance sheet and investing in grow ($150MM allocated to media investments and social selling and $200MM invested in IT and service model evolution). The company is strongly focused on beauty (74% of sales) and intends to concentrate on 40 brands centered in skincare, personal care, fragrance and color. To boost sales, Avon is promising to invest in innovation, improve representative engagement and leverage social media in selling, which it sees as strongly synergistic with its direct selling model. 
"Avon Presented at Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Leveraged Finance Conference (Presentation)", Avon, November 29, 2016, © Avon Products, Inc.
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FEATURE: As Companies Seek To Tap Growth In Prestige ELC Gains Traction In India

November 28, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Beauty and personal care brands and companies continue their drive into prestige, tempted by stronger growth rates and the lure of greater profit margins. In the US, for example, sales of prestige beauty products grew at 8% in Q3 2016 about two or three times the growth rate of the wider market.
 
We previously set out L’Oréal’s strategy to push into prestige: the company is continuing to acquire prestige brands, push high-touch channels and invest in innovation, strategies that are yielding superior financial performance – its L’Oréal Luxe division is growing at 7.1% versus 4.5% for the Group as a whole and has shown a growing profit margin for each of the last four years. 
 
Many other companies are playing to the trend: Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford launched premium make-up, bath products, and nail polishes, Unilever established a prestige skincare division based on the acquisition of four prestige companies and Shiseido’s prestige business grew 18.1% in H1 2016.  
 
But in a sign that the trend will endure, prestige is driving growth in emerging markets too. In India, the premium cosmetics segment, for example, is growing at 24% and companies there are jostling for position. 
 
An interview with Fabrizio Freda, CEO of Estée Lauder Companies, gives some insights to its India strategy. 
  • Careful pricing: ELC benefited from being present early and pricing sensitively. It sees the brands it first introduced – Clinique and MAC – as the entry price of prestige and the price point where it could maximize the conversion from mass to prestige. 
  • Playing to local conditions: ELC carefully adapted to local circumstances and cultures, recognizing that the traditional way Indian women see and use make up is very distinct, so adapted its go-to-market strategy accordingly. It also tried to address local needs through some philanthropic efforts.  For example, when it launched the MAC brand in India it donated money to local organizations fighting AIDS.
  • Leverage online reach: Freda claims ELC is the first company to invest in ecommerce and online distribution globally and it sees great potential online because of its scope and reach. “We are the biggest company in our space globally that is online, and we frankly believe, that online is one of the strongest channels and one of the best channels with highest preference from consumers around the world. So you can go to a brand’s own store where you have the whole assortment or products with concepts and education.”
  • Invest in educating the consumer: ELC drew in consumers in by educating them about their products, often leveraging their online platforms. The MAC website gives tutorials on how to use the products and at the Clinique site there are free online consultations from skin care experts. Freda: “So online you don’t just find the product but you find stories, education, service and experience.”
The company’s approach looks to be working. Its Indian brand portfolio — MAC, Estée Lauder, Clinique, Bobbi Brown, and others — is growing ahead of the market and Freda believes demand will continue to grow and be stable: “People may not be able to invest in a big luxury item but they can still afford a lipstick. And also the desire of quality cosmetics is growing so much in the world that it limits volatility.”
Vinod Mahanta & Neha Tyagi, "Our priority in India is to grow the prestige part of the business: Fabrizio Freda", Economic Times, November 28, 2016, © Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.
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Oriflame Refocuses Its Strategy On Skin Care and Wellness

November 28, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Oriflame, the Swedish direct selling brand, is looking to narrow its focus to concentrate mainly on skincare and wellness, supported by cosmetics and fragrance products. It will focus less on personal care, but the change could take some time. It hopes eventually to increase the share of skincare and wellness from 34 percent to 50 percent of its total sales. The decision reflects what the brand sees as global trends, including the growth of interest in wellness. A study by KPMG together with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and says the direct selling industry in India could grow to Rs.64,500 crore in revenue by 2025 but, at just Rs 7,500 crore in 2013-14, accounted for less than one half of a percent of total retail sales in India.
Harveen Ahluwalia, "Oriflame to bet big on skincare, wellness in new strategic push", Livemint.com, November 28, 2016, © HT Media Ltd
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