Exclusive Interview

‘Redefining the premium beauty segment’: Euromonitor International expert

By Lucy Whitehouse contact

- Last updated on GMT

‘Redefining the premium beauty segment’: Euromonitor International expert
We caught up with Hannah Symons, Research Manager Beauty and Fashion at Euromonitor International, to hear more about the premium beauty segment: why it’s now outstripping the mass market for growth, and what she thinks will be next.

Symons will be presenting further insights into this hot topic at the upcoming in-cosmetics Global​ trade event, Paris, 2-4 April, next week.

How is the premium segment for beauty evolving, and why is it happening?

Most simply, premium beauty is being democratized thanks to a slew of disruptive brands dedicated to providing the consumer with the best quality and value for the lowest price.

No longer can a mass brand shift volume without communicating its value proposition, and likewise premium brands have learnt that they can’t fool consumers with a hefty price tag and an alluring marketing campaign alone; each and every product needs substance behind the style.

Consumers across all pricing segments expect quality and integrity, and their prayers are being answered by the likes of The Ordinary and Beauty Pie who have built successful business models around ingredients, supply chain and pricing transparency.

What, if any, are your key predictions for premium beauty in Europe in the coming year?

Health and wellness is yet to reach its peak, especially in the legacy premium space, and there’s potential for much deeper penetration into more mainstream consumer groups for the likes of vegan, gluten-free and products with minimal ingredients, which consumers perceive to be better for their health.

Until consumers feel they have mastered taking care of their own wellbeing, they exhibit reluctance to invest too heavily in ethical and sustainable priorities.

Any proposition that can create dual interest across both pillars of conscious consumerism, self and planet, will have the best chance at breaking through. It’s important to keep in mind though that efficacy still tops consumers’ agendas regardless of any other short or long-term trends.

Results from Euromonitor’s Beauty Survey show that when it comes to a trade-off between natural and organic, and proven efficacy, consumers still prefer proven efficacy, suggesting that there is still distrust of the functionality of even the most coveted and trendy product attributes.

What are the latest, most exciting launches or innovations that have been seen in this space?

In-line with the notable decline in the power of “the brand”, players are beginning to reassess their marketing collateral.

The concept of a brand hasn’t become redundant, it has just been replaced with new models of aspiration.

Naturally, in order to appeal to these new aspirations, building a new brand from a clean slate is easier than reinvention but for those legacy brands already entrenched in the premium segment they are finding more meaningful ways to connect by emphasizing existing qualities that feed into the zeitgeist, whether that be ethical, healthy-aligned, personalised or experiential.

For example, Hourglass has always been a luxury cruelty-free brand but has realigned itself with these priorities even further in recent years.

Most notably, Hourglass was acquired by Unilever in a move that the brand said was due to its commitment to social responsibility.

Since its acquisition, Unilever has given Hourglass access to tools to create alternatives to animal-derived ingredients to further reinforce the brand in the vegan beauty space.

What, if any, are your top tips for industry professionals looking to maximise on the potential of premium beauty?

As new consumer values shift towards more meaningful consumption, priorities are being reassessed, paving the way for new “luxury” attributes beyond a higher price tag and other traditional premium perceptions, such as ethical, experiential and authentic qualities.

In many ways, these new aspirations are quicker and easier for brands to tap into than the traditional notion of luxury that has much higher barriers to entry, including a tight distribution circle and in many cases longevity, which is crucial to establishing a favourable reputation.

In-cosmetics Global: deeper insights

Hannah Symons, Research Manager – Beauty and Fashion at Euromonitor International will lead a session at in-cosmetics Global on ‘Redefining the premium beauty segment’ at the Marketing Trends theatre on Wednesday 3 April at 15:00.

The session will explore the changes in the premium beauty segment and how legacy players are readjusting to a new identity characterised by reawakened consumer priorities. For more information on the in-cosmetics Global 2019 education programme, visit here​.

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