The Return of Makeup | BoF Professional, The Business of Beauty, News & Analysis

Lancôme had deliberate to launch its Drama Ink liquid lip color, one of its largest lipstick launches in years, in July. Instead, the L’Oréal-owned make-up model debuted the product in May, two months forward of schedule, with all 13 shades of the $28 lipstick now accessible on Lancôme’s web site, with wider retailer distribution nonetheless rolling out as deliberate.
The last-minute change got here in response to a sudden improve in demand for make-up, the model mentioned. With US vaccination rollout going extra rapidly than anticipated and masks restrictions loosening, persons are raring to exit, giving magnificence customers a purpose to put on color cosmetics once more.
“Skincare had its second over the pandemic, now we’re seeing the pendulum swing again to make-up,” Lauren Malecha, Lancôme’s senior supervisor of omni activations, informed BoF. “We should be tremendous versatile … and adapt to our shopper in real-time as a result of of how quickly issues are altering now.”
Lancôme isn’t the one model experiencing a color cosmetics comeback. Maybelline, MAC Cosmetics, Ulta Beauty and Shen Beauty, a Brooklyn-based boutique, and extra are seeing their make-up companies begin to choose up once more. Last 12 months, status make-up gross sales within the US declined by 34 %, year-over-year, in keeping with The NPD Group.
But whilst customers heat to the concept of basis and lipstick once more, their habits have modified since earlier than the pandemic, each in what they’re shopping for and the way they’re shopping for it. Brands are adapting their assortments and methods accordingly.
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In an indication of present developments, at Ulta Beauty, pre-pandemic favourites like complexion and lip merchandise, in addition to extra vibrant eyeshadows are promoting once more, mentioned Maria Salcedo, the retailer’s senior vp of merchandising.
“The pandemic helped reset and reignite the chance for this pleasure round new launches and new manufacturers and new alternatives of utilization to return about,” mentioned Salcedo.
An advert Lancôme’s for Drama Ink liquid lip color, the launch of which was moved up forward of the pandemic. Courtesy Lancôme
Jessica Richards, proprietor of Shen Beauty, is seeing comparable numbers. She mentioned Shen’s make-up gross sales in May elevated by about 75 %, year-over-year. Shen’s present color enterprise is even outpacing 2019 by 40 %. Richards credit merchandise like lipstick, basis and blush for the gross sales raise, and added that in-store providers, together with facials, are already booked eight weeks out.
But lipstick, which virtually grew to become extinct through the pandemic because of masks use, is seeing a selected resurgence. Richards known as lip color Shen Beauty’s “actual winner.”
It’s proved to be a robust merchandise even for manufacturers that aren’t identified for his or her lip merchandise. Benefit Cosmetics, for instance, is greatest identified for its suite of eyebrow merchandise — eight of its prime 10 merchandise final 12 months have been for brows. But now, the model is seeing success with its new pigmented lip balm. Launched in May, California Kissin’ Colorbalm carried out 2.5 instances higher than Benefit’s final lip product, which was launched in 2017, mentioned Christie Fleischer, the model’s chief govt.
However, although pleasure for color cosmetics has returned, extra particular pre-pandemic make-up developments probably received’t make a comeback. While customers won’t ever forgo make-up altogether, it’s unlikely they’ll return to that signature “Instagram make-up” look popularised by manufacturers like Huda Beauty and Anastasia Beverly Hills.
“It’s not a brilliant outlined forehead, contoured second [anymore],” mentioned Manola Soler, director at Alvarez & Marsal Consumer and Retail Group, a worldwide consultancy.
More than what make-up persons are shopping for, it’s the place they’re shopping for it that has modified.
According to Accenture’s Covid-19 world shopper analysis from March, customers at the moment are 4 instances extra prone to buy make-up on-line in comparison with earlier than the pandemic. Additionally, 20 % of these surveyed mentioned they’d a digital hair or magnificence session since March 2020, and nearly half will proceed to take action even with shops and salons open.
“The truth that customers have switched their mindset and are keen to purchase make-up on-line opens alternatives,” Depraeter-Montacel mentioned.
This isn’t to say that brick-and-mortar gross sales received’t bounce again. Consumers more and more really feel safer returning to their favorite shops to check, contact and really feel merchandise in particular person (albeit with enhanced security protocols). In magnificence, the tactile expertise historically wins. Brands retailers ought to anticipate the expansion of on-line gross sales to decelerate within the coming months, although e-commerce will stay a bigger half of their total enterprise than it was pre-pandemic.
“We know that on-line will proceed and, finally, we do anticipate there will probably be a mixture of on-line and offline as a result of they’re taking part in totally different roles,” mentioned Alanna McDonald, president of Maybelline, Essie and Garnier.
Making Marketing Shifts
In advertising and marketing, manufacturers aren’t simply pushing product launches, however increase this make-up renaissance. Maybelline’s latest marketing campaign tagline is “Makeup For Everything You Missed,” whereas MAC Cosmetics is making ready to launch “MAC The Moment,” a multi-platform content material technique centered on displaying folks learn how to re-introduce make-up into their life.
“It’s to remind folks of after they exit, after they go on their first date, out to the flicks to see ‘Cruella,’ no matter it’s they’re doing … to deliver folks again into the world of carrying make-up,” mentioned Drew Elliott, senior vp and world artistic director of MAC Cosmetics.
MAC will pair totally different “moments” with a corresponding development and product suggestion, like new “Love Me” liquid lip color for a date or gadgets that give a “Golden Glow” for the holidays folks can lastly go on this summer time.
Lancôme took shopper’s up to date magnificence habits under consideration when creating its advertising and marketing technique for a brand new concealer that comes out this month. The formulation is identical one which was developed pre-Covid, however the model talks about it otherwise than it might need if it got here out in 2019, accounting for the buyer want for “multi-purpose” merchandise, mentioned Malecha.
Lancôme received’t simply concentrate on masking indicators of fatigue below eyes, however will even spotlight the concealer’s different attributes, similar to its potential to spotlight and contour.
To promote new launches, manufacturers will proceed to utilise digital instruments. During the pandemic, manufacturers have been pressured to introduce new gadgets on-line in lieu of splashy, in-store launches, similar to window takeovers and in-store occasions and activations. Now, they’ve realised the worth of an internet method.
Tim Coolican, chief govt of Milk Makeup, mentioned introducing merchandise on-line allowed the road to attain scale with on-line exclusives (the Melatonin Overnight Lip Mask and Melatonin Overnight Serum), in addition to eradicating the friction of time-consuming in-store processes like conceptualising and updating gondolas. Content on-line will be up to date and pushed out as regularly because the model needs.
“It creates an unrestrained launch surroundings,” Coolican mentioned. “It was once that you wouldn’t launch one thing in a giant approach on-line solely.”
Maybelline’s most profitable mascara launch up to now (in phrases of gross sales) got here on-line in January with the debut of its Sky High mascara. The product offered out 5 instances on-line and the hashtag “skyhighmascara” has nearly 255 million views. One unit is offered each three seconds, in keeping with the model.
“As folks started normalising regardless of the ‘new regular’ is, girls started carrying lipstick once more and heavier protection basis.”
Following Asia’s Lead
Brands have been in a position to forecast developments after witnessing what was taking place within the Asian market, which total, recovered extra rapidly from the pandemic than the western world. John Demsey, govt group president at Estée Lauder, mentioned the corporate noticed make-up gross sales choose up in China final October, but it surely took till March to see a “fairly broad swing” again into the class.
“If you need to see the longer term of what’s taking place, take a look at the place Covid had its first strike,” Demsey mentioned. “As folks started normalising regardless of the ‘new regular’ is, girls started carrying lipstick once more and heavier protection basis.”
Audrey Depraeter-Montacel, world magnificence lead at Accenture added that make-up gross sales in China and the APAC area — which she described as “again to regular, even rising” — are a superb indication of what’s to return in the remainder of the world. Already, she’s seen manufacturers adapt their media plans, together with a return of TV commercials, which disappeared through the pandemic.
“As we transfer from confinement to one thing extra open, it’s not but seen in shopper behavior but it surely’s going to speed up quick,” mentioned Depraeter-Montacel.
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