Today, most consumers don’t have the opportunity to shoot at defenseless animals for sport or buy their neighbors’ island for 60 guilders, but they can find a place of their own to gaze and graze upon a wide range of creams, lotions and fragrances—and it’s as close their iPhone or their local open-sell retailer. When Americans think about individualism in 2016, they’re usually thinking about what they watch and listen to, what they wear, and what they eat and apply to separate themselves from people, who more or less, are just like them.
This obsession with the song of selfies is a boon to marketers of cosmetics and other grooming products. At the upcoming In-Cosmetics North America, Euromonitor Analyst Amanda Hartzmark will review US market trends and the changing consumer landscape.
“Americans are the first educated consumers,” she explained. “In the US, we look online, read reviews and ask our peers for input. It’s having a big impact on how we buy. And many consumers want products that give them a better experience that is tied to their identity.”
For example, not long ago, teens wanted to smell like Britney Spears or Justin Bieber, but the celebrity scent has given way to a more customized approach to fragrance, where the consumer wants to layer scents in an effort to customize how they smell, according to Hartzmark. If they can’t put down the iPhone long enough to spritz on a couple or three EDTs, they’ll at least read enough reviews about perfumes to find something that fits them.
But individualism isn’t only for young laddies and ladies. The gain in men’s grooming is part of trend toward customization. Guys, like the gals before them, seek formulas specifically for their hair and skin and that quest for individuality is helping to boost male personal care sales—albeit from a small base.
Euromonitor puts the US men’s grooming category at $5.5 billion and notes that, on a global basis, sales have doubled in the past decade for a healthy CAGR of 7.2%. What’s driving the gains and the innovations? According to Euromonitor’s analysis, health, fitness and wellbeing; tangible benefits and easy solutions; and multifunctionality are intersecting and delivering products to market that promise to eliminate modern man maladies such as dry scalp, sensitive skin, hair loss and UV protection.
As one might expect, with all this customization there’s been a decline in mass; after all, you won’t find customization on Walmart shelves. Smart marketers are filling the gap with masstige type products that get their inspiration from Asia—things like BB creams, water masks and other K-beauty staples—and they want to buy these products in user-friendly outlets.
“Millennials what the best experience, most customized products and they want to shop in Sephora, Ulta and other open-sell formats,” explained Hartzmark, who added that traditional retailers such as Nordstrom are doing a good job with mixed space and liberal return policies in an effort to cater to Millennials.
Thanks to their love affair with all things online, these kids are conscious about what goes into their products. Millennials may not read reports, but they do see headlines and they’re demanding products that are sulfate-, paraben- and phthalate-free, even if they have no idea why they are demanding these free-from formulas.
“Ingredients will continue to be very important, it’s trickled down from the food industry,” said Hartzmark.
She noted that Natura continues to make gains with shoppers who want to buy locally sourced ingredients. That trend has been snapped up by indies that often do a better job than multinationals when it comes to telling their ingredient stories.
Hartzmark’s presentation will take place during opening day of In-Cosmetics North America, which will be held Sept. 7 & 8, at Pier 36, New York, NY. More info: www.in-cosmeticsnorthamerica.com