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TABS Cosmetics Trendspotter | TABS Analytics

2017 - 2018 Edition Special Points of Interest


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  • Millennials + Social Media = The Catalyst for a Cosmetics Boom

  • Brick-and-Mortar on the Rise for Specialty Cosmetics

  • Niche Segments Are Driving Cosmetics Growth

Coming on the heels of the TABS 2017 Cosmetics study (watch the webinar recording), we've compiled several articles that support what we are seeing in our multi-year research.  

Millennials + Social Media = The Catalyst for a Cosmetics Boom

Always wanting to be "selfie ready" and preferring to spend money on beauty products instead of other retail goods, millennials are a driving force in the strong cosmetics sector. Millennials are “the one bright spot in an otherwise challemillennials _ cosmetics.jpgnging environment for retailers and packaged goods companies,” according to a Financial Post article. Millennials are largely responsible for strong growth at specialty retailers, like Ulta Beauty and Sephora, as well as online brands like Kylie Cosmetics (which is marketed to Kylie Jenner's more than 99 million Instagram followers). Millennials say they are buying and using almost 25 percent more cosmetics than they did just two years ago and significantly more than baby boomers.


  • Cosmetic companies are shifting ad dollars from traditional television and print platforms to Instagram and YouTube, the Financial Post also noted. “Trips to exotic locations that were once reserved for editors from glossy magazines now go to influential social media personalities from all over the world who have thousands or even millions of subscribers hanging on their every post.” These brands – who once partnered with actresses and models – are eschewing celebrities and collaborating with social media stars. The Financial Post article highlights how a meet-and-greet with YouTube beauty personality Jaclyn Hill at a Los Angeles Ulta store drew 700 followers, some even camping out overnight.
  • In a Forbes interview, Tribe Dynamics, a firm that measures social influencer engagement, explained how "social media influencer marketing is the largest shift we have seen in the beauty industry in terms of driving growth. The industry is using the power of influencers more effectively than any other industry is." In fact, Tribe estimates that the beauty sector is at least three to five years ahead of other industries on this front.

Brick-and-Mortar on the Rise for Specialty Cosmetics

brick and mortar cosmetics.jpgEven though online sales of cosmetics are growing, there’s still opportunity for brick-and-mortar stores, particularly for specialty brands.

  • U.S. consumers still prefer shopping at brick-and-mortar retail locations, according to a survey from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). Stephanie Cegielski, an ICSC spokesperson told Global Cosmetic Industry that "today’s consumer expects a seamless experience across both physical and digital channels. There’s no question that the industry is evolving, however, it is not at the expense of retail real estate." The ICSC Cross-over Consumer Survey found that 74 percent of U.S. consumers said they shopped for beauty products at discount department stores, while half or more went to department stores, like Macy's and Kohl's.
  • Lush Cosmetics is bucking the downsizing trend with plans to triple its average store size over the next three years, according to the Financial Post. Lush has experienced seven years of double-digit growth, with many stores unable to deal with the crowds during peak shopping seasons. Sales at the company's 250 stores have been fueled by a focus on a youthful market and a heavy presence on social media, with entire communities on YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat routinely posting about use of Lush products. Faced with this growing demand, Lush has plans to expand about 200 stores from 800 square feet to spaces totaling up to 2,500 square feet.
  • Kylie Cosmetics, an online brand from Kylie Jenner, is seeing huge success with seven pop-up retail locations throughout the U.S. Teaming up with Topshop for five weeks leading up to Christmas, the pop-up carries the entire Kylie Cosmetics collection, plus two exclusive Topshop lip sets.

Active Cosmetics are a Growing Niche; Natural Ingredients and Organics Starting to Register with Consumers

Niche cosmetics, including products for active, sports-minded individuals, are becoming more prominent.niche_cosmetics.jpg

  • Mintel says active beauty – inspired by consumers' desire to adopt healthier lifestyles – is a trend that's here to stay. These products are ones that "prepare and assist consumers before and during physical activity and are also designed to facilitate recovery, Mintel noted, and go hand-in-hand with the advent of “athleisure" fashion. Looking at L’Oréal’s financial results for the first half of 2017, active cosmetics were a success story, growing 11.1 percent, with a high profitability (26.7 percent). Other companies are doubling down in this niche too. A.C. Cosmetics introduced a 39-item make-up line inspired by fitness training, while Tarte Cosmetics offers a tinted hydrating cream with sunscreen and perspiration resistant mascara for outdoor enthusiasts and athletes.
  • More consumers are rejecting chemical-laden cosmetics for plant-based alternatives in a move that could have longer-term implications for the beauty industry, according to a Fast Company article. Retailers are highlighting these products - from Sephora offering a landing page showcasing "naturals" items to Target planning to expand its natural beauty section after double-digit sales growth in 2016 to CVS promising to remove chemicals such as paragons and phthalates from about 600 of its in-house personal care products.
  • Brands large and small are developing vegan-friendly cosmetics. L’Oréal recently launched a new hair dye brand called Botanea, while U.K. start-up FRUU is developing lip balms using organic fruit and plant ingredients derived from post-consumer waste, according to a Springwise article.  

2017 Cosmetics Study Report CTA