The beauty and skincare industry is one of the most complex industries with diverse customer tastes and needs. The last year introduced or reintroduced us to various skincare habits, be it the increasing popularity of DIYs, natural ingredients, or bespoke skincare products. We observed customers and brands at large conforming and embracing this new change in trend, playing a pivotal role in accelerating those choices. Today’s customer is an aware and informed customer who recognizes their skin type, its specific needs, and research on trends and ingredients that will work for them before making a purchase. The market is exhaustive and has products accommodating the needs and budget of every customer, new or existing.
The rise of awareness and ease of accessibility of products through a multichannel approach, including company stores and websites, e-commerce channels and doorstep delivery, etc. are driving the market. This revolution has impacted the beauty industry as well in many ways – whether by creating a greater connection between brands and customers or by reducing entry barriers to innovations by new brands in serving hitherto unfeasible niche customer cohorts. The consumer has started to shift, but not completely move, from cosmetics to skincare even incorporating multi-purpose products which serve both purposes. With the unfolding advanced standards of beauty, select consumers are veering towards ‘skinmalism’ (using the bare minimum to achieve a natural kind of beauty) and boldly exhibiting unedited and natural pics of themselves on their social media profiles highlighting acceptance and unconditional self-love.
The skincare market in India has grown significantly as people have started to believe that good skin not only helps in maintaining beauty but also nurtures physical well-being. From sticking to a basic skincare routine to experimenting with specific ingredient-based products, customers are looking to focus on healthy skin. While some individuals are preferring to shift to an advanced skincare practice which includes sheet masks, serums, jade rollers, guasha stones, and AM-PM creams, there is still a notable segment of individuals who are starting to engage with basic skincare practices like CTM.
Millennials & GenZ – Setting the Existing Beauty Standards
Millennials and GenZ tend to spend more on beauty and skincare essentials than their previous generations. This section of customers is the most self-educated group of individuals with access to information on any conceivable beauty query. These skin connoisseurs have evolved with extensive research through existing reviews and discussion groups across social media platforms, e-commerce sites, and blogs even before buying them. The views, ratings, and tutorials allow these youngsters to make informed purchase decisions.
With access to both information and products, the industry has now established a strong influencer marketing dynamic. Through their content, aesthetics, and sizeable engagement, influencers are attracting the attention of the most established beauty brands and followers. Consumers are enamored with beauty influencers who are building tightly knit communities where they create conversations and address their followers’ queries. The audience relies on their research, recommendation, and personal reviews of products (both existing and new launches) along with remedies for beauty and skincare. Dermatologists and industry experts too are perceived as influencers and have amassed dedicated communities for themselves.
However, Gen Z customers are more active, experimental and curious about the formulation of the products and whether it’s sustainable and environmentally friendly. Meaningful consumption has also been shaping the beauty and personal care industry as customer focus shifts towards conscious consumption and ethical living. Individuals want to be informed about the ethical sourcing, packaging, and formulation of what they are planning to purchase, while also giving weightage to social media trends, discussions, and reviews.
Internet – A Catalyst to the Growing Industry
The digital world has altered almost every aspect of our lives. Earlier, spotting trends and getting access to top-notch formulations from across the globe used to be a tedious process that is now accessible at the click of a button. The beauty and personal care industry has accelerated quickly owing to the increase in internet retailing. It plays a key role in research, comparisons, and trends, even for offline consumers. Online channels are growing disproportionately, and social media is preferred as an influential medium for aspiring brands today. The online beauty community has paved the way for people to moonlight as beauty influencers.
Digitalization has given the power to connect with people around the globe; new technologies around data and artificial intelligence have opened new horizons and helped e-commerce conversions for a variety of brands. Amazon Beauty has launched its new feature VTO (Virtual Try-on) - a beauty tool that allows customers to test the color cosmetics and hair color virtually, thus, bridging the gap between offline and online buying. This shift in consumers' buying patterns and preferences has led to an increase of virtual try-on features, which are now being offered by a wide variety of retailers, including fashion, eyewear, hair color, and makeup brands. VTO has improved engagement not just in tier-I but also in tier-II and tier-III cities.
Besides this, to help customers discover new and eclectic brands, products, and trends, Amazon Beauty has launched topical storefronts like The Wanderlust Store, The Professional Beauty Store, The Ingredient Store, Vocal for Local Store, and many more, further offering them easy navigation according to their specific needs. The stores offer a plethora of options to choose from, further improving their experience. While the marketplace brings an immersive and interactive experience, customers can now select their preferred language as well, from a wide range that currently includes English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Marathi, with more to come.
The skincare story will, however, remain in a work in progress situation with newer beliefs and inventions. The difference is that its evolution is driven by the principles of transparency, self-love, inclusivity, convenience, and sustainability.