Recently, CosmeticsDesign attended the Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW)’s 2023 State of the Beauty Industry webinar event. CEW, a New York-based non-profit organization, serves the interests of over 10,500 members of beauty and related industries to inform, educate, and support companies and brands as they navigate industry spaces and execute informed decision-making processes.
The event, which hosted several speakers and addressed some of the most significant and impactful trend predictions for this year’s beauty industry, featured some interesting insights into topics including the ‘medicalization’ of beauty products, the consumer demand for beauty as self-care, and anticipated technology innovation in the cosmetics and personal beauty care spaces.
To further explore these topics, we followed up with Anna Mayo, Vice President of Beauty & Personal Care Thought Leadership at NielsenIQ, for additional insights into some of 2023’s most compelling upcoming trends influencing consumer purchasing behaviors in the beauty and personal care spaces.
Medical professionals as social media influencers
Recent consumer purchasing behaviors indicate a shift from beauty care products produced and endorsed by celebrity influencers and a gravitational pull towards brands and products that are recommended or formulated by skin care professionals like dermatologists. This year, “we have been watching the growth of dermatologist influencers on Tik Tok as influencers,” Mayo explained, “both in talking about products as well as aesthetic treatments.”
As reported by market research firm Statista in January of this year, TikTok is expected to generate an estimated $11.01 billion in net ad revenue by 2024 across all categories and is anticipated to be a significant driver of sales in the cosmetics and personal beauty categories. “Social media, specifically TikTok, has been the leading way that consumers are finding beauty information nowadays,” added Mayo.
“Engaging with influencers and staying on top of social trends is so important in driving awareness of brands,” she stated further, which includes the rising popularity of influencers with qualified authority and expertise, like trained medical professionals, as opposed to peers. The consumer desire for accurate and up-to-date information, which is used to assist in purchasing products, is also reflected in the type of information sought most.
The interest in aesthetic treatments is further evidence of this consumer demand, which “has been rising as well in search data,” Mayo confirmed. As these types of procedures and the products associated with their successful results “become more mainstream, it’s become more acceptable for people to visibly alter their face through cosmetic procedures,” she explained. Consumers are more likely to trust a medical professional with firsthand experience performing or observing an aesthetic procedure over an influencer who has merely received said procedure – like skin resurfacing treatments, for example.
Beauty as self-care
As the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis recently reported, Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) decreased by $41.6 billion or 0.2% in December 2022, while prices for goods increased by 4.6% from the same period in 2021. Economic health indicators point towards decreased spending across all categories, including cosmetics and personal beauty care products.
However, as detailed in NielsenIQ’s 2023 State of the Beauty Industry Report, “although 2022 was a challenging year for the Lipstick Index, with the entire Color Cosmetics category declining for several months, the “treat yourself mindset” was still alive and well. It simply manifested in different categories — most noticeably in Fragrances, which showed 19% dollar sales growth,” as well as Sun Care (11.4%), Cosmetics & Nails (9.1%) and Facial Skin Care (7.2%).
According to the data, consumers faced with cutting back expenses will keep basic luxuries. Still, the onus is on cosmetics and personal care product brands to establish their value within desired consumer demographics. “Consumers think about beauty products more in terms of value than strictly cost,” said Mayo. Because of this mindset, “they will be willing to spend money on things that offer them benefits that they can’t find in other places,” she explained.
The best way for brands to leverage the consumer perspective of beauty as self-care in 2023, she advised, is for companies to ensure “products live up to their promises and deliver an excellent experience to consumers, so they don’t think just in terms of cost, but in terms of the value that the products provide.”
Mayo added further that utilizing social media to better connect with and understand consumer demands regarding beauty as self-care should not be overlooked. “Don’t underestimate the importance of driving awareness through search, because consumers are overwhelmingly searching for product attributes and categories instead of brand names when searching online for products,” she explained. For brands and companies to best reach consumers, she further advised that companies ensure their marketing outreach efforts highlight “all of a brand’s product attributes, including ingredients, which is so important to winning the online experience.”
Technology and beyond in 2023
Technological advancements also received an honorable mention in many of the CEW webinar presentations and are of great interest to cosmetics and personal beauty care consumers and manufacturers alike. “There are a few beauty brands experimenting with the metaverse and on gaming platforms,” mentioned Mayo. “It’s not a huge segment right now,” she elaborated, “but predictions are that this will grow as more people adopt these virtual platforms.”
For companies looking to diversify their 2023 branding and marketing strategies, paying close attention to trending consumer purchasing behavior, habits, and indicators is highly advisable. There are many aspects to influencing purchasing decisions of merit, including leveraging relationships with medical professionals on social media and better meeting consumer demand for beauty products as self-care and opportunities to explore the potential impact of future technological developments.