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Markets & trends

The evolution of the relation to beauty in the U.S.A.

The U.S. market remains the largest by volume for both the luxury and beauty industries. The wave of make-up artists, the Doctor’s brands, or the craze for mineral makeup, they are all examples of U.S. innovations that have influenced the global beauty market. The analysis of the evolution of the concept of beauty in the U.S.A. proposed by IPSOS and Cosmetics Inspiration & Creation on the occasion of the last Beyond Beauty Paris tradeshow, was therefore of high interest.

While the United States are gradually emerging from a crisis that marked their history and shook up their values, the beauty market has recovered strongly, showing a remarkable resilience. New proposals have emerged, riding on emerging lifestyles, leading to a significant evolution in the relation to beauty.

It is this evolution that Rémy Oudghiri, Director of the Prospective for market research firm IPSOS, and Leila Rochet-Podvin, Founder of the agency Cosmetics Inspiration & Creation, presented in October as part of Beyond Beauty Paris. Five major themes have been decrypted, Rémy Oudghiri decoding societal trends and Leila Rochet-Podvin unveiling underlying emerging product trends.

Between relaxation and stress

Compared to their European or Japanese counterparts, American women seem to have a casual relationship to appearance, giving greater value to independence of mind. However, a thorough analysis of their responses to the surveys conducted by IPSOS, reveal that appearance is in reality a real source of stress in their daily life and that the aging is less well accepted in the U.S. than elsewhere.

The neutral styles of crisis times have finally given way to what Cosmetics Inspiration & Creation called "the great comeback of the hyper-femininity," including sophisticated make-up, flawless complexions, and highlighted and more colourful eyes and lips, with a more seductive state of mind.

The tools in the service of beauty

Self-confidence is central to the American vision of beauty (49% of American women say it is one of the reasons that lead them to make-up), which is modelled on an increasingly urban pattern and on the go lifestyles. This results in a quest for hyper-performance: the products must be mobile, easy to use and highly effective at the same time.

As a result, multifunctional products flourish on the market. They are stackable (eg Sephora Collection), with multi-brushes (MAC) or proposed as wipes (eg, Dr. Dennis Gross self-tanning and exfoliating).

From the cult of youth to maturity

If the desire to appear "younger than her age" is not seen as ridiculous in the United States as it is often the case in France, Germany or Italy, the crisis has partly questioned the cult of youth. Indeed IPSOS studies show that the idea that beauty is acquired with maturity, is progressing gradually. The concept of "aging well" tends to replace the "look young".

Values and ethics

The search for ethical values survived to the crisis. According to 61% of American women, a luxury beauty brand must be ethical. Similarly, the ecological sensitivity remains strong after the crisis.

"Ethical promises are no longer a specificity of niche brands," confirms Leila Rochet-Podvin. "Right now, a series of pink products are flooding the shelves, and support the action of the Pink Ribbon fight against breast cancer. In Soho, the new boutique Treasure & Bond, an initiative of Nordstrom, pays 100% of its profits to charities. For consumers, ethical values do not replace the search for performance or pleasure but add to them, according to the ’double bottom line’ principle."

Diversity, luxury and beauty

The proportion of women members of the so-called "ethnic minorities" is increasingly important in the United States. Surveys show that minorities more and more contribute to create new symbols of femininity.

Beyond a demographic reality, the ideal of a “mixed race” beauty is merely becoming the new American standard of beauty. According to a study in the March edition of Allure magazine, 64% of respondents say that a woman of mixed complexion is the epitome of the American beauty. Consequence of a reality that is reinforced by magazines, fashion designers and cosmetics brands in America: ethnic minorities are increasingly present in the media.

Vincent Gallon

© 2011 - Premium Beauty News -
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