Cory Watson, Event Director, Beauty Expo Australia

Cory Watson, Event Director, Beauty Expo Australia

Premium Beauty News - What are the main features of the Australian beauty market?

Cory Watson - Industry revenue is expected to increase at an annualized 0.8% over the five years through 2018-19, to $6.5 billion. This includes an expected revenue growth of 0.2% in the current year. The growth is expected to accelerate over the next years and industry revenue is forecast to grow at an annualized 2.6% over the five years through 2023-24, to $7.4 billion.

We get about 7,000 beauty industry professionals visiting Beauty Expo Australia each year (over two days). It’s a trade-only event, which is important so that our visitors and exhibitors have an environment that’s conducive to business.

Premium Beauty News - What about Beauty Expo Australia?

Cory Watson - The show has grown exponentially! We’ve experienced a 45 per cent increase in the number of exhibitors at Beauty Expo Australia to reach 260 exhibitors this year, which is exciting. We had a strong year in 2017 too, with a 37 per cent increase in exhibitors from 2016, which suggests our industry continues to thrive.

Premium Beauty News - What are the brands that you see emerging and booming?

Cory Watson - We have seen a real upturn in the skincare and anti-ageing sectors in recent years. For instance, at Beauty Expo Australia 2017, we had a huge 60 per cent increase in skincare exhibitors from the previous year, which I think is illustrative of how big that area of the beauty industry is growing year-on-year. In terms of brands, we’re very excited to have MAC Cosmetics on board for the first time at Beauty Expo Australia this year. Australia skincare brand Ultraceuticals, and technology distributors France Medical and The Global Beauty Group continue to take larger stands at Beauty Expo each year. There’s also Lük Beautifood, which is a natural lipstick company founded by food scientist Cindy Lüken, who is joining us at Beauty Expo Australia after exhibiting at Beauty Expo Melbourne 2018 and also the recent Indie Beauty Expo (IBE) in New York.

Premium Beauty News - Do you plan to expand to other shows?

Cory Watson - We run four events within the Hair & Beauty portfolio at Reed Exhibitions Australia, including Beauty Melbourne, a boutique annual event for the local professional industry that takes place in March; Hair Expo Australia, our three-day event for the hairdressing industry which takes place each June; the Hair Expo Awards, which has been running for over 30 years; and Beauty Expo Australia, which is our national beauty event that takes place annually in Sydney. We get a fair number of visitors travelling interstate, particularly for Hair Expo and Beauty Expo Australia so at this stage there are no plans to expand - but never say never!

Premium Beauty News - What are the trends that you have seen growing?

Cory Watson - We’ve seen a shift toward embracing natural and organic products, as well as those that are Australian-made or produced by home-grown companies. This seems to be reflective of a growing consumer preference for products containing natural ingredients, as well as those that are made here in Australia.

To address this, we introduced a new initiative at Beauty Expo Australia to offer relevant exhibitors the opportunity to highlight that their products or brands were either “Proudly Natural” or “Proudly Australian” on their stands. Our exhibitors loved that there was a visual signifier of their alignment with these values, and it made seeking out natural and locally-made products a really gratifying experience for our visitors at the event. We’ve now implemented this initiative at all our hair and beauty industry events.

Premium Beauty News - Could you tell us about the evolution of the different categories in Australia?

Cory Watson - Sun care is very important to the Australian market given the strength of the sun here and the associated risk of skin damage. The overall tanning services market has declined, in part due to regulatory changes banning the commercial use of solarium tanning beds. However, the spray tanning services sector has increased in demand over the past five years as consumers seek alternatives for their tanning needs.

We are seeing an increase in both makeup and skincare companies that are emphasising natural and/or organic ingredients in their products, as the clean beauty movement continues to gain traction. In saying that, there’s also a lot of growth in the anti-ageing sector, as more consumers seek products and technologies that promise a more youthful appearance (which is also mirrored in the proliferation of injectables and other cosmeceuticals).

Premium Beauty News - And what are the most successful distribution circuits in Australia for beauty in general?

Cory Watson - As we focus on professional distributors, I wouldn’t be able to confidently assess the success of distribution circuits for beauty and cosmetics generally. From what I’ve noticed personally, I would say that the prominence of premium beauty retailers like Mecca and Sephora is growing as more stores open across Australia. Pharmacy chains like Priceline and Chemist Warehouse also provide a vast range of cosmetics for consumers in Australia. And other outlets like Lush, The Body Shop and L’Occitane are also key players in the market.

In the professional sphere, some of our exhibitors have marked themselves as very successful distributors for the beauty industry. Professional Beauty Solutions (PBS), for instance, has a portfolio of 12 brands covering everything from LED masks to beauty supplements, to premium skincare products and makeup. MakeupNet is another successful wholesale distributor in Australia selling some of the popular indie makeup brands like Lime Crime and Gerard Cosmetics.

Beauty Expo Australia will return in 2019 for another weekend dedicated to everything beauty from 24-25 August at the ICC Sydney.

Victorian beauty professionals can look forward to the next state’s dedicated boutique event, Beauty Melbourne, which will take place at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) from 23-24 March 2019.