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Betting on beauty

Just as the seasons change, so do the latest beauty trends. One minute everyone was recreating Cara Delevingne’s full brows, and the next they were on to Kylie Jenner’s overlined pout, or the contouring and highlighting trend.

Those trends may not have fallen to the wayside yet, but soon they may exist within a beauty space with a strong showing from natural products, personalized marketing, brands with consumer-aligned values and new technological tools, according to Mintel’s Global Trends report for 2018.

Consumers are putting an emphasis on wanting to know what exactly goes into creating their favorite bold, red lipstick. Many are opting out of purchasing the big-name brands and choosing to shop smaller companies with a focus on ingredients.

“These efforts appeal to those who want products that reflect who they are and where they live, and that instill a sense of pride and guardianship for ingredient sourcing and production, as well as manufacturing processes,” Mintel’s report said.

Among the consumers Mintel surveyed, 50% of U.K. customers admitted that when purchasing beauty products, they often searched for ones made with natural ingredients, and 45% of those surveyed in China revealed that they planned to use products crafted with natural herbs and plants more often, as it improves their skins’ conditions.

Mintel’s report highlights that beauty consumers also are changing what they want from companies marketing products to them. Brands who don’t target a shopper’s age, sexuality or gender with advertisements were seen in a much more favorable light than those who did.

“In the past, brands had sole control over what defines beauty; however, perceptions of beauty based on age, gender, skin, hair and body type are changing, and control has shifted,” the report said. “Now, the consumer dictates what beauty is to the brand. An influx of information online has educated consumers, and they believe they know their skin/hair/body best and appreciate that everyone is different. They want their individual needs to be answered with options or customizable beauty.”

Among companies responding to these new demands has been Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty. With its tagline “Beauty for All,” the line — whose foundation offerings include 40 shades — focuses on creating universal products for all skin tones, even ones that have traditionally been hard to match.

In order to win over most consumers, companies also need to be transparent. Thanks to the power of the internet, people can now find out exactly how their favorite tube of lip gloss was manufactured. Was it tested on animals? Created ethically?

Fifty-six percent of Americans surveyed by Mintel admitted to stopping to buy products from a brand or retailer if they believed their practices were unethical, and 37% of U.K. consumers revealed that they considered whether or not a product is tested on animals when shopping.

“Younger generations in particular don’t like labels and increasingly strive to live in a society that’s free of ‘isms.’ When purchasing products, they want to be sure their brand choices are aligned with their personal values,” the survey said.

As companies respond to demands for natural and cruelty-free products, they also are focusing on technology as a tool to facilitate customers’ shopping journey.

“Looking ahead, the days of social media being purely social will have long since passed as companies transform these online interactions into shopping opportunities,” the study said. Less foot traffic means fewer shoppers sampling shadows and palettes in person, which is why such big-name brands as Estée Lauder and L’Oréal have looked to augmented reality applications, including YouCam Makeup and ModiFace, which L’Oréal acquired in March. The AR-powered apps allow consumers the opportunity to sample products straight from their phones — cutting out in-person swatching.

Another big trend is shoppable posts on social media, in which Instagram plays a key role. Now when consumers see a lip color they like in the app, all they need to do is tap on the post and add it to their shopping cart. And the service is meeting a need, as 30% of Spanish-speaking consumers who viewed beauty content on social media told Mintel they would be interested in buying directly through the social channel.

“Over the next three years, holistic approaches to biometric data and the blurring of lines between social media and online retail will encourage brands to drive unprecedented customization of the shopping experience, giving consumers more control over where, when and how their data is used,” the report said.
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