A ‘wise’ move: Superdrug launches budget own-brand makeup range Studio London

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

The Studio London range features 136 different products, including foundations, eyeshadows and lipglosses, designed with diversity in mind [Image: Superdrug]
The Studio London range features 136 different products, including foundations, eyeshadows and lipglosses, designed with diversity in mind [Image: Superdrug]

Related tags Superdrug A.S. Watson Uk beauty retail Makeup own-brand retail cost of living crisis Consumer trends diversity

UK beauty retailer Superdrug has unveiled its budget own-brand makeup range designed to provide better accessibility for all consumers – a move that aligns well with the cost of living crisis and consumer trends, says an expert.

Just one year after Superdrug revamped and relaunched its own-brand skin care line B. Skin​, the beauty retailer today launched a budget own-brand makeup line Studio London. The 136-product range featured a selection of foundations, eyeshadows, lip glosses and lipsticks, all vegan, gender-fluid and suitable for diverse skin tones, with every product retailing for less than €10 (£9) and many for under €6 (£5).

The A.S. Watson-owned retailer said the range had been designed to offer consumers “premium performance products that won’t cost the Earth”.

“…Studio London is all about making your makeup products work harder with smaller price tags, allowing for risk-free expression and ensuring that high quality products are accessible for all,”​ Superdrug said.

The range had been launched alongside a campaign supporting individuality, diversity and the freedom to be creative – a move strongly aligned to shifting beauty ideals and unconventional expectations amongst consumers​.

'Wise' and 'essential' range for beauty consumers

Sofie Willmott, sector head of health and beauty analysis at GlobalData, told CosmeticsDesign-Europe that Superdrug had been “wise”​ to launch a budget own-brand makeup line at a time when consumers were “cutting back spending as product prices and monthly outgoings rise”.

“A low-price broad cosmetics range will go some way to help stop shoppers trading down to discounters,”​ Willmott said.

Ensuring the range was inclusive and diverse was also “essential”​ for beauty shoppers today, as consumers now expected choice, largely since Rihanna’s pioneering brand Fenty Beauty launched in 2017, she said.

“Young shoppers expect to be able to find products that are tailored to their needs and Superdrug’s Studio London range offers plenty of choice for both affordable beauty and gifts."

Superdrug's budget own-brand makeup range Studio London is designed for diversity [Image: Superdrug]
Superdrug's budget own-brand makeup range Studio London is designed for diversity [Image: Superdrug]

A beauty budget squeeze

According to a report published by premium beauty and wellness brand Beauty Pie last month, in partnership with consultancy firm The Future Laboratory, consumers were now demanding fairer beauty pricing and greater product efficiency amidst the cost of living crisis.

The report showed that whilst 15 of the leading beauty brands sourced from the same three manufacturers, “hyper inflated mark-ups”​ were causing a significant range of final product pricing – a fact consumers were increasingly savvy to.

“As people continue to re-evaluate their spending habits and become more knowledgeable about these varying cost structures, there will be new demand for radical fairness in the industry across everything from price point to product efficacy as people become more aware of these mark-ups,”​ Beauty Pie said in its report.

According to L’Oréal’s CEO Nicolas Hieronimus, though, global appetite for beauty remained “intact”​ despite financial strains​.

“Globally, people are getting used to inflation and intending to spend,”​ Hieronimus told analysts during L’Oréal’s third quarter earnings call last month. However, the CEO did acknowledge that L’Oréal’s consumers were “not the most vulnerable to inflation” ​and its portfolio breadth, offering a range of products at various price points, had helped capture spend across different consumer budgets.

Superdrug premium fragrance push

This broadening of portfolio strategy had also been used by Superdrug, with the expansion of its premium fragrance offering earlier this year​ via the acquisition of seven new prestige brands. At the time, Megan Potter, trading director at Superdrug, said the move enabled the retailer to offer its customers “a full shopping experience”​ and “something for everyone”.

Analysing the move given the ongoing cost of living crisis, Kimberly Howard, semiotics director and trends expert at research agency Verve, said that with every trend there was a counter trend. “Many big brands are investing in very cheap lines with high quality ingredients to help consumers have an affordable skin care regime. At the same time, just because people’s budgets are squeezed doesn’t mean they won’t be investing in luxury products. They’ll just be very picky on the luxury products they do have,” ​Howard said.

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