News
Jun 05, 2012
A look at some of the most inspiring and creative initiatives to make their products stand out from the rest by the cosmetic industry.

New Experiences in Cosmetics

From the emergence of new targets to booming electro-cosmetics, the beauty industry continues to innovate and differentiate itself in terms of active ingredients and experiential approaches. Here is a review of the most inspiring initiatives in recent months.

Tweens, the new eldorado for cosmetic brands

Pre-teens or tweens have been behind hits such as Hannah Montana and Harry Potter. They thus showed advertisers that they had a high purchasing power, considered to be worth nearly USD43 billion in annual expenditure. Cosmetic brands have also followed this trend and now offer products that address this target, as evidenced by the success of fragrances by idols of the young such as Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift. 

Wal-Mart, the U.S. retail giant, has replaced its collaboration with the Olsen twins by creating GeoGirl: a natural brand of skincare and make-up designed for 8 to 12 year olds.

Consumer expertisation

The success of electro-cosmetic products

Cosmetic brands are increasingly joining forces with electronics manufacturers to design technological devices that offer professional results at home. Nicknamed ‘Moba Beau’ by the Japanese (for mobile beauty devices), this segment has recently received much attention in Japan in particular, where manufacturers of cosmetics and household appliances have become involved in this ultra-fast growing market. Thus, two Japanese giants, Shiseido and Panasonic have released the Ultrasonic Beauty Device Handy Mist: an electronic spraying device for the AquaLabel lotion by Shiseido. Sonic cleansing products are currently the most profitable segment, driven by the leader, Clarisonic. However, the American consulting firm Kline reported on the enormous potential of anti-aging devices, of which very healthy growth is expected, i.e. +50% in 2012. The study also reports significant opportunities for manufacturers in developing products for the mass market, bringing an increase of more than USD1 billion in this segment this year.

DIY: when the consumer becomes an active participant


At a time when environmental awareness increases the demand for natural products, Rowenta, the appliance brand, launches – in partnership with experts in dermo-nutrition – the 1st product dedicated to the preparation of beauty products at home, Naturalis. Consumers are therefore in control of the manufacturing and composition of their beauty care, hygiene and make-up products by choosing active ingredients themselves. This DIY trend has already been observed in the make-up and perfume industry, and L'Occitane ventured to offer two years ago an organic moisturizing cream that you prepare at home. The trend continues with the launch of brands offering ultra-targeted products, that are tailored for increasingly demanding consumers.

Renewal of distribution channels

Beauty boxes: the new business model of e-commerce 

In 2011, beauty boxes flooded the market, offering subscribers – for a fee of €13/month – a few samples or miniatures of beauty products delivered to their own home. These surprise packages allow subscribers to discover new brands and products, and also offer beauty tips in partnership with influential bloggers. The relationship with subscribers continues on the Net, via Facebook, YouTube and regularly updated forums. In return, brands obtain figures and opinions about their products, through surveys undertaken by users, but especially via their comments on blogs. Thus, less than a year after its launch, the pioneering GlossyBox already has more than 150,000 subscribers worldwide.

Digitization of points of sale

Digital technology also plays an increasing role in the cosmetics industry, to provide more services to brands and their consumers, and thus offer a more engaging and surprising shopping experience. After the well-known Realtime Make-Up Simulator by Shiseido, which is a virtual make-up tablet allowing consumers to try a product free and virtually by simply scanning its bar code, we can observe a clear emergence of virtual walls. Initiated by a large supermarket in Seoul, this technology is now used by the cosmetic industry: for example, Glamour magazine has created the Glamour Apothecary, a virtual pop-up store inviting passers-by to scan products from major manufacturers, make instant purchases and receive their shopping at home in the heart of the Meatpacking District in New York. In May 2012 in France, Carrefour launched a similar initiative by installing in its shops at La Madeleine and Gare de Lyon, a static panel presenting over 200 products from the new range Les Cosmétiques Design Paris, sold exclusively in Carrefour supermarkets. Passers-by are invited to scan the QR codes of the products of their choice to win one of 3,600 prizes in the form of vouchers for Les Cosmétiques Design Paris products.

All these initiatives are recent – less than a year for most – and it is clear that the cosmetic industry remains an innovative sector, even in times of financial crisis. The brands of the beauty industry have managed to renew what they offer by providing more engaging product or shopping experiences to consumers. All indications are that they will continue to surprise us in the coming years.

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