Beauty In The Fast Lane


Discussing the indie beauty boom and how the power of social media and communities are changing the market research and product development landscape.

Emerging from digital platforms, indie brands are serving up a dose of real competition - particularly in the US. Championing innovation, they utilise social media and digital influence to communicate with consumers on an authentic and engaging level. innovative ideas, spotlight ingredients and a story that resonates with consumers. From farm to bathroom shelf, brands like Farmacy are championing natural, sustainably sourced ingredients.

Known for sparking fads (e.g rainbow highlighter, mermaid style, unicorn inspired), their swift product development cycles have not gone unnoticed. Listening to the consumer and transforming that feedback into product has brought an element of crowd-sourcing into the industry. The Hero Project and Volition Beauty are great examples of this.

The storytelling quality, perhaps surrounding a star ingredient or brand inspiration, resonates with consumers. They connect with values of importance such as cruelty-free, fair trade or being a platform for diversity. They are fulfilling needs and gaps in rising trends that many larger brands aren’t able to do on long development time frames.

Whilst most indie brands have found great success online, brick and mortar retailers have taken notice. Retailers such as Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, BeautyMART and Sephora have opened their doors to niche, independent brands. We hope to continue to see the industry challenged through the innovation, concepts and issues highlighted by indie brands.

According to Bloomberg, there were 52 acquisitions in the beauty industry in 2016 (the most in a decade)*. Most notably, this year The Hut Group made headlines after announcing 4 major acquisitions in less than three months: Glossybox, Australian online retailer, Espa and Illamasqua. For the future, independent brands and beauty incubator startups are ones to watch but it's worth keeping an eye on how customers react to acquisitions in order to navigate this fast-paced landscape.

As the beauty industry continues to thrive, perhaps we'll see start to see more venture capitalists stepping up to invest in tomorrow's promising indie beauty brands.

Social media has become a crowd-sourcing platform for ideas and market research for brands wanting to launch products into a competitive space. A successful example of this is Glossier, who recently launched two new body products, launched in the UK and generally follow a pattern of a new product launch every 2-3 months. Glossier listen to their audience and consistently launch successful products that focus on delivery and experience. The landscape is changing, using social media for product feedback and to research the consumer voice as well as the choice of having digital influencers as brand ambassadors.

Glossier peaked in Google Web Searches approaching UK launch earlier this week.

Fenty Beauty, made ripples in the industry with a large number of SKUs on launch which included 40 shades of the foundation.  Praised for their diverse representation and offering, this resonated through queues in store and content online. Only a month from launch, hype is already building for the Galaxy holiday collection. Compared to other popular makeup brands, Charlotte Tilbury, Kylie Cosmetics and Too Faced, Fenty peaked well upon its launch. Most interestingly, is the flurry of Fenty related content published to YouTube throughout September.

Google Web Searches

YouTube Searches

Despite a consumer want for beauty routines to inspire mindful, slower lifestyles, the pace of injecting newness into a thriving industry shows no signs of slowing down. In conclusion, nothing says it better than this article by Business Review Europe, "startups and corporates will be working side-by-side by 2025, a consequence of the ever-evolving needs of consumers forcing corporations to be on top of developing trends."

Discussing the indie beauty boom and how the power of social media and communities are changing the market research and product development landscape. - Pretty Analytics Trend Stories
Sarirah Hamid