We read a lot, attend as many webinars as we can and gain insight and inspiration from other business sectors through McKinsey, Wired and so on. They all have a consensus that trends that provide powerful indications on what happens post- pandemic are starting to crystalise.
Although there are still so many unknown ways in which the future is going to unfold there are clearly visible trends that are starting to shape the future of beauty. Some are plainly obvious, others are not. Here’s 6 not so obvious trends – some adapted from McKinsey and Harvard Business Review – to provoke your thinking:
1. Digital ubiquity
Digital ubiquity allows companies to have a DTC business model as well as or rather than the traditional routes to reach consumers. It provides companies with the means to gain information directly from their consumer without having to go through other sources. There are now no barriers between a brand and its target market. Information is power and that which was previously unattainable can transform business through collaboration and co-ordination and will create new unforeseen kinds of partnerships.
2. The importance of value
As the pandemic changes shopping habits, we will question the true value of any purchase. This doesn’t mean that low priced beauty will surge forward. It means that if a brand has no reason for being, is a copy of other brands, has no USP, then it’s like the Emperor’s new clothes. Consumers will see through it and its intrinsic value to a customer becomes too low to warrant purchase.
3. Small brands
Indie brands are here to stay. Many will fail – mostly through lack of working capital – but many will survive and prosper. Stand out brands with a game changing ethos will be highly attractive to investors. These are the kind of qualities we are looking for through The Beauty Accelerator.
4. Conscious consumerism
A positive impact of the pandemic is that we are all questioning how we act in relation to those around us and to the environment. We are questioning our consumption of products and our willingness to return to what was “normal shopping” – not in a high street sense but more to do with never -ending consumerism. Beauty has a big role to play in this. Sustainable, eco-conscious, clean, vegan, transparent – all values that we expect to see on the brands we purchase. But our new thinking will also raise questions of whether a product is necessary. Does it deliver value, does it deliver results, and can I live without this product? All questions that brands need to address and answer if they are to prosper.
5. Profit pressure
It’s tempting to think that in our new kinder, diverse, and charitable post-pandemic world that profit will be less important. It won’t be. There will be other measures that will provide performance references but the pressure to deliver profit – the second leg of the holy business trinity of turnover (vanity), profit (sanity) and cash (king) – will not reduce. Profit is the means by which a business can invest for growth. Smarter beauty brands will use their profit to develop new partnerships or engage with their customers in better ways. Profit will provide the oxygen needed for innovation and better services and products.
The world is facing an existential crisis. The fires in California and Oregon are harbingers of how climate change threatens our lives. The demand for sustainability will only increase as events unfold that show how small a tightrope we walk. “As The New Role of Retail” by Sheridan Co states: brands demonstrating sustainability as a “nice to have” now need to change this to a “need to have”. Beauty will take a leading role in non-negotiable sustainability.
We’ll write about more trends over the coming weeks. In the meantime, we welcome your thoughts on what’s next for beauty.
The Red Tree is the UK’s leading international beauty brand consultancy and a powerhouse of ideas, insight and inspiration. For an informal discussion on how we might help you, please contact us.
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