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Sustainability – The beauty industry’s new foundation

The beauty industry is now, in some ways, unrecognisable from the big brand dominated, plastic consuming, animal testing mayhem it was ten years ago. Changes in technology, sustainability concerns, animal welfare protection and reduction in plastic use are just some of the ways that the industry is developing. Consumers are becoming both increasingly aware of environmental issues and willing to spend money on organic and ethically-sourced ingredients. To add further complexity to these changes, the technological revolution has completely changed the way brands communicate with their customers. Direct-to-consumer brands, email marketing and shoppable apps have drastically lessened the dependance the industry has on beauty corporations. 

New technology

Those brands shrewd enough to realise the opportunities the technological revolution has presented them have reaped the rewards. By cutting out the middleman, D2C brands are now in control of the customer experience, influencer marketing has provided a lucrative and cost-effective alternative to traditional advertising and start-ups offering niche services can break into the market more effectively without high advertising costs. 

Sending the right message

Millennials are now overwhelmingly dominant in the beauty industry and they are willing to spend good money on the right products. It is, therefore, paramount that beauty brands stay on top of emerging trends, stay relevant to their customers and keep the attention of both Millennials and (perhaps more importantly) the up-and-coming Gen Z. With both these groups, getting the message right can still be a challenge. Traditional methods of communications are no longer enough, brands need to be smarter to show their customers that they understand them and are willing to adapt to their needs. If your business doesn’t do this, someone else surely will. 

To appeal to these groups, beauty brands of all sizes must be seen to be playing an active role in supporting sustainability issues and environmental concerns. The sharp rise of veganism is not strictly limited to the food and restaurant market and branding and marketing teams work hard to showcase animal-free testing. If businesses are not aware of these consumer standards and adapt to them quickly they will risk negative sentiment towards their brand.

Who’s doing it well?

Some companies are doing it well, Dr Hauschka, L’Occitane, The Body Shop, Burt’s Bees and Lush are all working towards the biggest sustainability push that the beauty industry has seen. Lush has partnered with the Ocean Legacy Foundation and aims to turn 27 tons of marine debris into product packaging. For the first time in twenty years, Unilever has launched a new range of skin, hair and body care called Love Beauty and Planet which focuses purely on sustainability and is 100 per cent vegan. According to Raconteur, 73% of senior brand decision-makers see sustainability as an opportunity for their brand and 51% have created sustainable packaging in the last 12 months.

This brand image is essential in the current environment and with new levels of transparency demanded from retail, customers can quickly tell who is genuine and who is not.

Starcount’s perspective

Data and technology companies like Starcount are working hard to tap into consumer mindsets and motivations to reveal the important trends that businesses need to be aware of. Starcount uses social clustering methods combined with traditional social listening techniques to mine the content created by our most passionate ‘Beauty’ fans and detect these rising trends. Beauty Brands that post #Organic & #CrueltyFree have grown by 27% over the past 6 months. #CleanToPlanet has grown 11.4% and #VeganApproved 7.2%. In addition, terms such as ‘green’, & ‘CBD Oil’ are the most talked about topics in this space.

Starcount identified communities of beauty fans across the globe, with our insight from over 1.3 billion consumers on social media. This data is updated on a monthly basis allowing us to identify terms this community are using around ‘skincare’ or ‘ingredients’. Due to our ongoing crawl, we are able to analyse current and past trends to find patterns which let us determine whether a topic is going to be a fad (a moment in time) or a long term trend worth investing in such as Charcoal toothpaste.

Sustainability and health trends can be complex and fast-changing. If businesses cannot spot trends before they emerge and adapt at speed they will risk falling into a consumer blind spot with rapidly declining sales and empty stores.

Get in touch with Starcount for more details or to discuss how we could help you better understand your customers 

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