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Beauty brands need to embrace the collective good

For beauty brands to survive, it is now no longer enough to have a great product. Consumers expect brands to have a real purpose and to use their power to help engender genuine social change for all.

This is according to the latest findings from market intelligence agency, Mintel, which combined its expert beauty and wellness analysts and thought leaders, with an elite group of beauty industry insiders and investors to develop a strategic brief for leaders within the beauty, wellness and personal care industries.

The exclusive consumer research carried out for the ‘Future Forward’ report shows that ‘not using harmful ingredients’ (48%) is still the top priority in terms of what consumers want from their beauty brands: they want to keep themselves safe. However, consumers’ expectations are set to dramatically shift from the individual to the collective.

According to Mintel research, consumers want businesses to be honest with them about their business practices (29%) and to pay their employees fairly (21%). Meanwhile, 15% of consumers now also want to see brands be more inclusive by designing products for people from all backgrounds and abilities. And with the younger generations most focused on these issues, there is undoubtedly a need for brands to shift focus.

Says Jane Henderson, chairman, Mintel Beauty and Wellness: “Whilst brands know that Purpose is a path to be taken, there are many that have yet to brave it. In the coming years, brands will risk calls of tokenism if they do not plan to be at the forefront. Those that embrace it with courage and creativity will capture more consumer hearts and more sales.

“Brands must be prepared for consumers to care more than ever about inclusivity, as well as the dignity of employees and the impact of their business around the world, as we see people become increasingly concerned about the greater good. With the younger generations more passionate about wider social change than their older counterparts, it is a trend that is set to keep growing.”

Shift from the individual to the collective

Focusing on the collective doesn’t just apply to individual brands, it applies to the industry as a whole. According to Mintel, the greatest shift in vision that we will see in the next five years is one of collaboration. To achieve real change, brands must work together, not against each other.

“Brands will no longer view one another as competitors, but as allies tackling a common cause. Those that fail to collaborate and seek individual attention instead, will find themselves at the mercy of a growing group of proactive consumers, who will call out their behaviour. Negative sentiment will run high if brands fail to collaborate or contribute,” continues Henderson.

Brands need to do more for the planet

No discussion about Purpose would be complete without looking at the environment. Mintel research shows that consumers are increasingly looking for more ambitious commitments from companies and brands to protect the environment. While 34% of consumers say they expect brands to follow environmental regulations, there’s a growing group that wants brands to take this further. In fact, a similar proportion (30%) want beauty brands to do what’s best for the earth, even at the expense of margins.

What’s more, half of consumers (48%) now want brands to show the direct impact their purchases have on the environment, such as one tree planted for every purchase. A similar proportion (47%) want labels to clearly show a product’s environmental impact.

“In today’s world, consumers want more than just a product. They want to put their money where their values are. More people will consciously invest in a brand that is aligned with their values, becoming so invested that they are prepared to build a shared legacy. Expect to see a growing consciousness among consumers of their impact on the world around them and an expectation that companies will absolutely do their part to help,” Henderson concludes.

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