Marketers will need to meet revamped needs of the consumer with this new normal after a challenging start to the year. Facial cosmetic sales slipped 9.7% to $1.9 billion, according to data from Information Resources Inc. (IRI) for total US multi-outlet (supermarkets, drugstores, mass market retailers, military commissaries and select club and dollar retail chains) for the 52 weeks ended April 19, 2020.
Foundation sales fell 9.5% to $883.1 million while powder dipped 15.6% to $289.9 million.
Taking a closer look at the categories:
- Concealer decreased 3% to $277.6 million;
- Body accessory fell 8.8% to $248.9 million;
- Blush dropped 7.9% to $116 million;
- Makeup combo sales slipped 14.6% to $58.8 million and
- Bronzer fell 12.2% to $42.6 million.
Meanwhile, overall US prestige beauty sales performance fell 22% to $1.4 billion in dollar sales from January to March 2020, according to The NPD Group. But, at press time it was revealed that in the six weeks from April 5 through May 16, NPD data showed that the total US prestige beauty industry averaged increases 6% week-over-week sales growth. All categories posted growth, with makeup sales up 2% and skin care up 3%. Despite the recent gains, according to research firm Opinium, 39% of Americans are now wearing less makeup and prefer the more natural version of themselves that they discovered in lockdown, while 35% feel relieved they don’t have to wear cosmetics as much. Yet, 44% of Americans said they are using makeup as a form of self-care right now, too.
“COVID-19 has dramatically impacted the cosmetic landscape. During the lockdown phase of the pandemic, the need/desire to wear makeup is mitigated as consumers limit their interactions outside of the home,” noted Clare Hennigan, senior beauty analyst, Mintel, Chicago, IL. “Even as some states slowly begin to relax restrictions, financial concerns will limit category spend. Lip and face cosmetics may take even longer to recover as face masks become part of a daily uniform. Daily makeup routines will shift as more companies roll out permanent remote-work policies, creating longer purchase cycles.”
Hennigan added that COVID-19 has been a catalyst for trends impacting the makeup space, such as clean beauty and sustainability.
“Consumers are paying more attention to their personal health and safety and to their surroundings, as demonstrated by the widespread acknowledgement of environmental progress during the lockdown phase,” she told Happi. “Having lived through moments of scarcity, consumers will have a renewed focus on preserving natural resources, and seek sustainable makeup products that protect the individual, and preserve the world around them.”
The COVID-19 pandemic is creating a strong focus on personal care and skin care routines, noted Susan Sterling, color marketing director, Avon, New York.
“In the early weeks of the general lockdown, those purchases seemed key, products that were relaxing and self-caring,” she told Happi. “But this free-time or more time at home has also generated interest in online makeup tutorials or using the how-to makeup books on one’s shelf to learn and practice new makeup techniques such as sculpting and contouring and practice playing with color makeup for its transformative effects.”
While consumers want to look good for Zoom calls, they are also using makeup as a “pick me up” and to feel a bit more normal, added Sterling.
“It’s an instant mood booster and helps them get into a routine,” she said.
With retail locations and counters closing, along with photo shoots, red carpets and any in-person events canceled, a lot of makeup artists are out of work right now. As a result, these creatives are turning to online platforms in order to express their creativity and connect with other beauty enthusiasts and clients.
For example, Glamsquad launched Virtual Services to both support professionals by allowing them to continue their craft and provide clients with an experience that makes them feel empowered, connected and positive, according to the company.
“From a products perspective, makeup products still offer quick pick-me ups and self-care solutions to help boost everyone’s mood during this difficult time,” said Kelli J. Bartlett, Glamsquad artistic makeup director, New York. “Consumers are looking for multi-purpose products that have multiple benefits and help you look presentable quickly. For example, dual lip and cheek products. They are also looking for skin care to combat problems due to stress and wearing PPE. They are seeking products with ‘good for you’ ingredients that have a skin care angle so you feel like you’re treating yourself while also looking your best.”
As wearing masks continue to be our new normal, our skin care routine calls for a few adjustments. Warmer weather is on the horizon, so Dr. Dendy Engelman, dermatologist, New York, suggests a swap of thick foundations and concealers for lighter, non-comedogenic formulas.
Her favorite is Estée Lauder Futurist Hydra Rescue Moisturizing Makeup.
Sèbastien Tardif, celebrity makeup artist and co-founder of Veil Cosmetics, New York, offered his clients a tip for making facial makeup last a little longer right now.
“If you run out of foundation, mix your serum or moisturizer with concealer as a replacement. The more serum or moisturizer added will make the finish more BB Cream-like. I do this all the time using Veil Complexion Fix Concealer mixed with my moisturizer of the moment albeit my Sunset Light Serum or an oil free hydrating face gel. If your skin is on the dry side, you can even add a couple drops of your dry face oil to your concealer and obtain a richer hydrating tint result.”
A Digital Approach
Shoppers are going digital. As retail stores adjust to social distancing guidelines and in-store makeup testers become obsolete, virtual makeup try-on is a must. In fact, Avon just launched a digital catalog that includes AR makeup, according to Sterling.
“Our virtual try-on feature lets you try before you buy. A key component of Avon’s new digital catalog, which is available through Avon’s website and app, customers can virtually try on products such as lipstick and eyeshadow,” she told Happi. “It also features the foundation shade finder and concealer shade finder where you can discover the perfect shade matches.”
The new digital initiative allows Avon to improve the selling experience for Avon representatives throughout North America in an easier, more streamlined process.
The entirely interactive, digital catalog brings the Avon experience to life in a completely new way, according to the company, and will allow representatives to expand their reach even further. The browsing and buying experience will be optimized for desktop and mobile with shoppable posts, video makeup tutorials, influencer-created content, interviews with product creators, video reviews, animations and more. Reps can customize their Avon catalog and experience for shoppers allowing them more room to promote their business. Seamless sharing lets all users share any page or content via social, email or SMS.
The necessity of social distancing presented an opportunity for beauty brand treStiQue to creatively adapt to the “new normal” and not sacrifice an informative and personalized experience. The company introduced a live video beauty advisor service which is available from 2pm-10pm (EST) Monday through Friday. The service delivers all of the expertise of experienced department/specialty store advisers with the ease and safety of staying at home, according to the brand. Users can schedule an online experience via trestique.com, and during their live chat can seek advice, get an instant shade match, learn about new products and more.
“COVID-19 has thankfully not affected our brand in terms of sales as we are not reliant upon any retailer; however, it has affected the customer mentality,” Jenn Kapahi, co-founder and CEO of treStiQue, New York, told Happi. “We have worked hard to focus on updating a lot of our marketing messages and customer service to adapt to these changing times. For example, we extended our return policy to 60 days and lowered our free shipping threshold.
“Everyone is shopping online now and searching for brands that offer more natural, lighter makeup for her at-home lifestyle. Customers are looking for less lip and ‘going out’ makeup products and more for products that offer a touched up quick look and products that offer skin care benefits,” she added. “We see customers shifting away from full coverage foundation to a lighter coverage for their WFH lifestyle. Our Tinted Face stick has also seen an uptick because it offers a lighter tinted moisturizer coverage. Customers want products that make them feel and look more awake and rested, and also natural at the same time.”
Meanwhile, a new beauty app called Niya is keeping makeup artists employed by connecting users to professional cosmetic artists for live, one-on-one video sessions that can range from those who have never lined a lip to true makeup junkies. Every Niya pro is vetted and meets the brand’s requirements prior to joining the team.
According to Thya Sanders, CEO/founder of the San Diego, CA-based company, Niya has seen tremendous growth.
“We’ve had lots of interest from makeup professionals looking for a universal platform that allows them to give these virtual lessons and stay connected with their clients until they can provide those in-person services again,” she told Happi. “It is mutually beneficial which allows professionals to continue to earn a living by giving these personalized lessons to clients. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, beauty professionals have really had to re-evaluate the way they connect with their customers and how to engage in the future.”
According to Sanders, her company is performing many virtual makeup lessons which allow industry leaders to stay connected with their audience by empowering the viewers so they can still achieve their desired looks by themselves—and letting them know that they are not alone.
“There is also a sense of intimacy, where a viewer can have and maintain the undivided attention of the teacher,” she told Happi.
Prepare for FaceTime
What consumers are creating with their facial makeup now stems from what was previewed on the runway last year. This includes novel cosmetic launches for Spring 2020. For example, to craft the colorful look for Christian Siriano’s Spring/Summer 2020 show, Maybelline New York’s Global Makeup Artist Erin Parsons used a mix of fingertips and brushes to lend lids an “organic” and “painterly” feel. “We’re using the products in different ways,” she said. “The idea is to channel your inner artist.”
The latest launch for the season at Maybelline New York is Fit Me! Matte + Poreless Pouch. This non-comedogenic, medium coverage foundation for normal to oily skin is enriched with clay for a natural matte all day wear. Designed to minimize mess, it has an optimized spout that helps with controlled dispensing that allows users to squeeze out the last drop, yet still only use what they need. Fit Me! Pouch is available in 37 shades, with 40ml in each pouch.
Also new is Maybelline New York Dream Radiant Hydrating Foundation. Formulated with “skin-loving” ingredients, hyaluronic acid and collagen, Dream Radiant hydrates, evens skin tone and leaves skin looking radiant, healthy and plumped, according to the company. The lightweight, breathable formula won’t clog pores, is dermatologist-tested and provides 12 hours of hydration and a naturally radiant finish. It is available in 20 shades.
New for Summer, Avon Cashmere Complexion Longwear Foundation is available in 30 matte shades to suit a wide range of skin tones and undertones. This liquid foundation visibly blurs pores and lines for 24 hours, while soft-focus and shine-absorbing qualities help maintain a smooth matte finish with antioxidant botanical extracts, artichoke and butterfly lavender (non-GMO). Ideal for all skin types, the formulation is water resistant, too.
Merle Norman Cosmetics launched Soft-Focus Finishing Powder. Formulated with an exclusive Tri-Microsphere Technology, this nearly-transparent vitamin-enriched finishing powder imparts a soft-focus matte finish to help set makeup, blur the appearance of fine lines and control shine. The non-drying formula is comfortable to wear and even reduces flash back when taking photos, according to Merle Norman. It comes enriched with vitamins C and E and is available in two shades (Light to Medium and Medium to Deep). The product, which includes a fan brush that makes touch ups quick and easy, is dermatologist tested and free of alcohol, carmine, gluten, phthalates, fragrance, oil and parabens.
Clinique’s recently-launched Moisture Surge Hydrator SPF25, provides 12-hour moisture with high SPF protection and a sheer hint of skin-perfecting color for long-lasting skin benefits. Clinique’s new Moisture Surge Sheertint Hydrator SPF25 provides SPF, instant perfecting, refreshing hydration, all-day antioxidant protection and defense against modern aggressors such as UV and pollution. Formulas include hyaluronic acid, activated aloe water and trehalose to keep skin hydrated and dewy for a full 12 hours. It’s oil-free, sheer coverage is suitable for all skin types, wears all-day, and is sweat- and humidity-resistant in seven shades, according to the brand. Mimetic-Shade Technology suspends skin blending colorants in essential lipids that act as a moisturizing cushion, allowing each sheer and forgiving shade to wear perfectly with a wide range of skin tones. Also new at Clinique is Clinique Powder Pop Flower Highlighter and Bronzers that go on smooth and last all day.
Laura Mercier has revealed an exciting launch, Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Natural Skin Perfector Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen. According to the company, Laura Mercier brought the tinted moisturizer to the US more than 20 years ago and it has remained a cornerstone of the brand—epitomizing the essence of French beauty as the ultimate skin-perfecting secret to a flawless, dewy, no-makeup makeup look.
Mercier herself worked closely with the brand’s product development team to update the product with modern ingredients, formula technologies and packaging. It took several months and 67 submissions back-and-forth until they knew they had what they needed. The new tinted moisturizer provides 24-hour hydration, and is said to improve skin with a Hydrating Complex (made up of macadamia and kukui seed oils) that helps increase skin’s long-term moisture levels, according to the company.
And, hot for Summer 2020, Drew Barrymore’s Flower Beauty has the solution to keep the complexion looking sun-kissed, year-round. Similar to the brand’s bestselling Skin Elixir, the new Heatwave Bronzing Essence is an oil-free formula that soothes and perfects the skin while providing hydration and bronzing radiance.
A Clean Outlook
Even with external factors like a global pandemic, facial cosmetics sales are expected to grow later in 2020, according to industry insiders.
“Customers miss having their routines and beauty is one they can do at home…brightening complexion products will continue to play an important role in what customers want to continue to purchase too,” said Kapahi of treStiQue.
Right now, makeup has taken a back seat as consumers prioritize health and wellbeing over their appearance, noted Hennigan of Mintel. However, moving out of lockdown the industry can expect to see trends that were emerging before the outbreak to increase significantly.
“Makeup products with skin-care benefits, such as serum foundations, and dewy/hydrating primers, are seen as nourishing and help enhance one’s natural appearance, aligning with trends calling for a more realistic and relatable approach to beauty,” she told Happi.
“Everything has been about being subdued due to virtual meetings and not being able to go anywhere,” added Sanders of Niya. “Look for people to peacock once we can start leaving our homes and socializing. Faces have been ‘resetting’ and getting a rest. There has been a lot of self-care and self-love for our faces during the shutdown periods. The canvas has been renewed and will be eager to be shown off.”