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Markets & trends

Trend: Makeup takes hold of the notion of freedom

In many ways, the trend is towards the assertion of a will to choose, to express commitment, and to highlight one’s differences. This reality transcends societal currents to reach the makeup industry, one of the greatest vehicles of self-expression. The Cosmetics Inspiration & Creation agency has set up a new trends dossier through the prism of this theme, which is particularly visible on the American market. Founder Leïla Rochet revealed the outlines to Premium Beauty News.

Premium Beauty News - What does the American market tell about this tendency to express our desire for freedom with makeup?

Leïla Rochet - This market evolves very fast, driven by the emergence of microniches and indie brands that change the game rules. In the currently pretty tense American society, makeup has never been such a significant source of self-expression, enhanced self-confidence, and empowerment. But it is also a source of asserted freedom through social media, brand positioning, and the product types created.

Premium Beauty News - What best illustrates this movement?

Leïla Rochet - In our Freedom Beauty report [1], we closely examine six trends related to colours or emotions, for example. One of them, in particular, entitled World’s Changers, evokes the brands that really take a stand for or against a change, in tune with consumer involvement.

Today, there is an air of freedom on social media, and a few brands have been positioning themselves as real spokespersons for a societal or political choice. We can mention lipsticks, like F*ck Donald Trump, by Lipslut: 50% of its profits are donated to organizations that fight against the current politics. The Lipstick Lobby brand is another example: when they launched their new Fire shade, they staged school shooting survivors in their communications to join the gun control movement.

There is a movement that aims to reclaim the African-American culture, with the rise of black empowerment and brands praising a more inclusive representation of femininity.

Premium Beauty News - What is the most striking observation you have made?

Leïla Rochet - The “Small is the New Big” notion, which is visible on different levels. In terms of retail, online sales are still behind sales in physical stores in market share, yet they do drive the market’s growth. As for brands, indie (niche) brands are those that best stimulate the market. The same goes for small segments, like primers, glosses, or applicators, which used to be considered secondary and are now key players in this growth.

Lastly, the American market is driven by the need to go for diversity, even inclusiveness, as can be seen with the multiplication of shades reflecting the existing diversity. Some brands now offer 50 shades, or even 60, like MAC Cosmetics.

Premium Beauty News - How does makeup grow in the US?

Leïla Rochet - During the second quarter 2018, the prestige beauty growth rate reached more than 6%, according to NPD, boosted by the +12% growth, while makeup remained stable. This growth reversal shows the market is turning towards more naturalness, and that grooming follows the notion of “skin deep” rather than “skin surface”. The Instagrammer phenomenon in makeup is now reproducing in skincare. It is driven by the wellness movement, which is particularly strong in the US and involves a holistic, rather than superficial vision of beauty.

Premium Beauty News - What would be your conclusion for brands?

Leïla Rochet - This study shows that consumers try to express a certain freedom through makeup, whether it be related to naturalness, self-expression, or societal choices. It is now important for brands to become partners of this new momentum, by offering products in tune with the search for freedom of expression.

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