Today’s consumer is increasingly stressed – 80% of German consumers are concerned about finances; 68% of Italian consumers about work; and 78% of Spanish consumers about relationships, according to an online survey conducted by Lightspeed and Mintel. Physical health also preoccupies consumer concerns (92% of Spanish consumers), along with sleep quality (64% of German adults).
Speaking to CosmeticsDesign-Europe, Andrew McDougall, global beauty and personal care analyst at Mintel, said stress and worry around finance, politics, the environment, loneliness and other issues, was clearly on the rise and beauty could carve its place out within this.
“There’s definitely going to be space for mindfulness and wellness and if beauty can give that respite to a consumer, no matter how small, it’s just a good way to connect,” McDougall said.
‘Hand in hand’ with health and wellness
Opportunities in beauty for mood and wellbeing, he said, were tightly linked to the wider wellness trend – far from entry stage and quickly evolving.
“The beauty market and health and wellness market go hand in hand right now. A lot of the trends in beauty are influenced by health and wellness,” he said.
When considering how the beauty industry could tap into mood and wellbeing, he said it was a “two-pronged approach”.
“On one hand, you have a lot of these products that can be multi-sensory and stimulate certain feelings – products that you apply to your skin that can be tingly, refreshing or relaxing even. Fragrance can come into play as well, we know fragrance does impact mood and emotion. The second approach is looking at the actual routine itself and products that can play into the emotional wellbeing space.”
Both strategies could work, McDougall said, particularly amidst the current consumer climate with heightened stress, loneliness and a strong focus on mental health.
However, he said careful consideration around brand messaging would be important in connecting with these consumers.
“It would be nice for industry to promote positivity, but in an authentic way. The problem is, you can make lots of claims that are very positive, but they have to be backed up; they will be scrutinised heavily.”
Brands had to be transparent about motives and methods, he said. “You don’t want to be accused of opportunism or jumping on a bandwagon. It needs to make sense and connect with your consumer (…) It can be more detrimental if it’s not as well thought out.”
Companies could also opt to openly address negative issues related to stress, mental health and isolation, he said, if it matched the brand message and wasn’t fear marketing.
Brands looking to make a big statement around mood and wellbeing, though, had to ensure they were “bullet-proof”, he said – far easier for Indie brands who already had a loyal and active following, although larger brands should understand what position to take.
“Brands will roughly know their limitations – don’t try and push limitations for the sake of it,” McDougall said.
Retail ‘really interesting’ to consider
Asked what touch points held most promise for mood-focused beauty, he said: “Actually, retail is a really interesting market to think of right now because it’s struggling. Beauty retail is no different, especially in Europe.”
Retail was evolving, he said, and the experiential side had gained importance – the likes of Sephora and Boots had both focused on this recently.
“Going into the store can be good to touch the product, smell the product, touch the packaging, feel it on the skin. Physical is still very important in terms of discovery and we’re seeing a lot of stores setting up sort of ‘beauty playgrounds’,” he said.
Effective beauty campaigns around mood and wellbeing, however, could be done online and didn’t necessarily rely on brick and mortar impact, he said.
“People are obviously still going to go online, there’s a lot of trust in buying beauty products online. I think the online space is going to grow. When it comes to mood and emotion, for the actual product itself physical is still very important; campaigns can be done virtually.”