Mintel: Next beauty decade to navigate push-pull between nature and tech; digital and physical

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

“The world will probably look quite different in ten years’ time, so the beauty world will too,” says Mintel associate director for Beauty & Personal Care (Getty Images)
“The world will probably look quite different in ten years’ time, so the beauty world will too,” says Mintel associate director for Beauty & Personal Care (Getty Images)

Related tags: Mintel, Mintel beauty innovation, trends, Naturals, digital, Beauty brands

The beauty world will look very different in ten years, polarised by the push and pull between nature and technology and a consumer battle between digital connection and the desire to disconnect, says Mintel.

The global market research firm has identified two key trends set to shape industry in the coming decade in its recent Mintel Beauty and Personal Care Trends 2030​ report: ‘the panorama of humanity’ and ‘identity traders’. The first trend, it said, would see consumers explore science and nature in equal measure, and the second see them toggle between digital connection and disconnection.

It would be important for industry to understand these “distinct forces” ​set to shape the beauty market and work hard to appeal in light of them, Mintel said.

The world will look ‘quite different’ in ten years

Speaking to CosmeticsDesign-Europe, Andrew McDougall, associate director for Mintel Beauty & Personal Care, said these two distinct trends set to shape beauty in the next decade would be fuelled by advances in science and technology like software, augmented reality and apps.

Andrew McDougall, associate director for Mintel Beauty & Personal Care
Andrew McDougall, associate director for Mintel Beauty & Personal Care

“The world will probably look quite different in ten years’ time, so the beauty world will too,”​ McDougall said. “…The world is polarised right now, so the trends reflect that,”​ he said.

However, McDougall said beauty could exist and satisfy every side and aspect of these important consumer trends.

“It doesn’t have to be one or the other or so push-pull. As seen in a lot of the examples, nature and science are not and will not be separate in beauty innovation; they can and will work together to meet the needs of consumers.”

Sustainability hacks and creating a sense of belonging

This was particularly relevant, McDougall said, when considering sustainability and the increasing demand for natural ingredients. Advances in biotechnology and gene-editing, for example, could be used to create molecularly replicated versions of these naturals with a lower environmental impact, he said. 

“The push-pull with nature and technology sees consumers look to ‘hack’ the future with lab-grown ingredients and new approaches to ageing. We will also see the evolution of ‘clean’ beauty with growing scepticism around brand transparency,”​ he said.

On top of this, McDougall said consumers would change how they interacted with and purchased beauty products, based on many different factors - from a physical, mental and social aspect. Importantly, over the next decade, he said they would flit between digital and physical connections.

“We see so much connectivity in the world that makes some great things possible, but we also see the backlash to this and the desire to disconnect,”​ he said. “…Access to floods of information at such a rapid rate can have a detrimental effect on people’s psyche, leading to anxiety and depression and bringing into question the concept of authenticity. People will be looking for that sense of belonging.”

Authentic beauty messages necessary

Beauty brands and companies had to straddle these two worlds, McDougall said, navigating how best to provide assurances and belonging to consumers but it had to also be done in a “flexible and authentic”​ way.

“Each company will be positioned differently, based on who their consumers are. It is important to be authentic in the message and know your capabilities too. The trends highlight the possibilities and where things are headed. Companies will fit into that journey at different points.”

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