In the State of Fashion 2021, McKinsey estimates that by the end of 2021, ecommerce accounted for 35% of the U.S. beauty and personal care industry, compared with 20% pre-crisis. IBISWorld also forecasts that this year, the industry revenue will grow 7.4%.

That said, it’s not easy for brands to increase their market share as the pandemic has given birth to new consumer shopping habits — many of which appear to have staying power.

In this article, we’ll look at the three of the most significant consumer trends impacting the beauty and personal care industry to watch in 2021 and beyond.

1. Consumers Care More About Wellness

Consumers have been turning to self-care products to address stress, anxiety, and other mental health conditions related to COVID-19. Also, as most people are stuck at home, they take advantage of the downtime to evaluate their healthcare routine and choose products that benefit their wellness.

According to McKinsey, global consumers increasingly expect beauty products that are made naturally or using “clean” formulations. About 41% of German consumers and 30% of British consumers say they prioritize these products over a “stronger” formula.

In the latest survey on beauty shoppers conducted by Global Web Index, approximately 44% of U.S. and U.K. shoppers try to buy natural or organic products.

Consumers show a great interest in:

  • Personal healthcare;
  • Plant-based cosmetics;
  • Healthy food and drinks;
  • Fitness; and
  • Exercise.

What Brands Should Do

Be Loud and Proud

Relate your products to overall health and wellness. If they’re made from organic and natural ingredients, or if they’re scientifically proven to improve wellbeing, feature this information loudly and proudly. Even better, make it a cornerstone of your brand identity.

Make Info Easily Available

Make it as easy as possible for consumers to find information about your products, such as:

  • Ingredients;
  • Sources;
  • Benefits;
  • Instructions;
  • Recipes;
  • Contraindications; and
  • Testing, etc.

Display these details on product bottles, packaging, product detail pages, social media highlights, etc., which will help consumers feel confident when buying from you. This is also effective in establishing transparency and conveying brand identity.

Show Evidence

Don’t just make claims. Instead, use user-generated content (UGC) to showcase how your products can help combat stress and bring normality during uncertain times. The clearer the connection between products and wellness benefits, the better it’ll resonate with beauty consumers.

2. Consumers Become More Ethically Minded

Today’s beauty consumers understand how their beauty routines affect the planet. That’s why they’re looking for accredited brands that meet environmental or ethical standards.

Recently, WeDo conducted a survey of 2,000 adults aged 25 in the U.K. and asked about their ethical buying process. Here are some interesting findings:

  • 57% of respondents consider themselves sustainable and ethical shoppers, with 62% claiming that this has become even more important to them in the last five years.
  • 54% consider sustainability a more important factor when buying hair, beauty, and skincare items in recent years.
  • When shopping, 56% look for recyclable packaging, 44% check products are animal friendly, and 25% check for accreditation.

In another survey of 2,000 consumers across the U.S. and U.K., Nosto found that:

  • Out of various ethical labels that beauty brands use to describe their products, “clean” (68%) and “cruelty-free” (65%) are the most likely to drive online purchases.
  • Approximately 59% of shoppers look for products advertised as having “sustainable packaging” and those promoted as “natural and organic.”

For Generation Z consumers, sustainability becomes even more critical when shopping for personal care and beauty products. They want to buy from brands that reflect their values, listen to their feedback, and take action accordingly.

“Gen Zers are customers who value not having excess and not having waste,” says Maeva Heim, founder of Gen Z-inspired hair care line Bread Beauty Supply on Vogue Business.

What Brands Should Do

Cater to the Conscious Customer

Combine sustainability and wellness to cater to conscious consumers, especially Gen Zers, who want to do good for their health and the planet. That can help you create a competitive edge against big players in the market.

Get Creative

Be creative in how to make your products sustainable. You can create refillable products that allow consumers to order a refill and reuse the vessel they’ve bought.
Also, think about recycling systems that allow consumers to send back their used container, and you’ll recycle it.

Educate Consumers

Educate consumers on your sustainability approach. For example, Three Ships Beauty often shares how they source natural ingredients, how they make their packaging, what they do with their old bottles, and more.

The founders also show up regularly on videos to strengthen consumers’ trust.

3. Asian Americans Are Rising Beauty Shoppers

Asian Americans have become the most influential buyers in the U.S. beauty and personal care industry. NielsenIQ’s 2021 Homescan survey even found that these consumers outspend the general U.S. population for beauty products by 22.75% more annually than the average consumer.

The survey also reveals some common characteristics of Asian American beauty consumers:

  • They’re informed, engaged, and socially connected “super-omni” shoppers. They’re extremely savvy and knowledgeable about different ingredients, having a clear idea of what’s best for them.
  • They rely heavily on mobile searches and social media for trends, reviews, ideas, and interactive experiences.
  • Their product choices and purchase decisions are influenced by Asian American celebrities and beauty influencers on social media.

That said, CNN emphasizes that “many Asian American consumers felt ignored by the conventional makeup products and techniques that were tailored to White faces. Others have reported feeling insecure or have found that makeup artists played down their Asian features.”

Hence, a deep understanding of Asian cultures and beauty routines (Korean, Japanese, Chinese, etc.) is necessary for brands to successfully tailor their products and marketing messages to Asian American consumers.

What Brands Should Do

Take a Look at Your Customer Base

Review your customer base to see if you have a significant number of Asian Americans consumers. Then, use data like purchasing history, browsing history, and social media interactions to determine their needs, expectations, and how you can serve them better.

Form Partnerships

Partner with Asian Americans or Asian beauty influencers on Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook to reach new buyers.

Admerasia’s survey found that product endorsement from Asian influencers and product placement in Asian entertainment are highly important sources that trigger Asian Americans’ buying interests.

Time to Take Action

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, beauty and personal consumers experienced significant lifestyle changes, which led to a major shift in the way they perceive beauty. To win the hearts of these new consumers, brands need to understand their preferences better.

Keep in mind the consumer trends above to adjust your product and marketing strategies. This way, you won’t miss out on opportunities to create a sustained footing in this market.

Download our 2021 Consumer Research report to gain better insight into changes in consumer behavior and how you can strategize to better meet their needs.


Posted by Contributor