In an industry cluttered with fast disappearing fads, luxury skincare marketers should be aware of robust beauty and skincare trends that have already seen steady growth in 2017 and are geared to gain even more traction in the years ahead.
Search data is an invaluable tool that enables luxury marketers to determine longer term trends by providing a glimpse into consumer interests and considerations. By utilising tools like Google Trends, that compile search data, luxury marketers can leverage consumer insights to shape digital and content strategy.
We will be offering 3 top search trends for prestige skincare and diving into the implications of each for luxury marketers. Understanding the bigger implications behind these beauty drivers will help shape your luxury skincare brand’s digital strategy and connect with affluent beauty consumers.
1. Experiential Skincare
Affluent consumers are beginning to see skincare as an enjoyable, multi-step routine. The fun and experimentation in prestige beauty used to be centered around makeup, while skincare was seen as more of a fundamental obligation. However, this notion around skincare has slowly started to change with the rising popularity of the 10 Step Korean Skincare routine.
According to a Think With Google’s report on 2017 skincare trends, “Korean Skincare” is not only trending by volume of searches, but it is deemed as a “sustained riser” — a trend that has seen steady growth over the past years in an industry and is considered a “safe bet”. Lauded by the beauty industry as a game-changer, this involved routine, utilising an entire arsenal of varying luxury skincare products, has helped transform a previously underplayed step into a thriving category that consumers are willing to spend time and money on.
As a response to growing consumer demand, Youtube influencers have flooded the channel with how-to videos, demonstrating the steps of this complicated routine and which luxury products consumers can use at each step. The video demos — which emphasise not only the steps but also the calming ritualistic effect of the routine — have been met with much success. For instance, digital influencer Rachel Nguyen, whose normal videos rack up views in the low six digits, saw almost 1 million views on a video dedicated to the 10 step routine.
There are two big takeaways from affluent consumers’ growing obsession with the 10 step skincare routine:
One is centered around explorative self education — consumers are actively seeking tutorials online to learn how best to incorporate luxury skincare products to create a comprehensive routine;
The other takeaway is around the desire to create an enjoyable, stress-relieving ritual of sorts that promotes an overall feeling of skin health.
This presents an opportunity for luxury beauty brands to clearly communicate the purpose of each product in relation to a broader skincare routine. It is also important to keep in mind that part of the reason why consumers gravitate towards a multi-step skincare routine is due to its potential to be an enjoyable, stress-relieving experience. So, take the opportunity to highlight the sensorial experience of your product. Leverage Youtube and Instagram to create short tutorial videos (perhaps in partnership with an influencer) showcasing the product — its application, texture, scent — as a calming sequence with steps preceding and following its usage.
An important note on influencer partnerships: Look for influencers who are credible in the industry and have quality, authentic content that is in line with your brand’s ethos and aesthetics. Remember to prioritise partnerships that have a high potential for creating original, educational content that your brand could re-purpose on other channels.
2. Natural Skincare
Organic and all-natural luxury skincare is seeing increased traction amongst affluent consumers. Projected to reach $13.2 billion by 2018, the luxury organic and natural beauty market is booming. This long-term trend has seen 24% growth over a four-year period, and according to Think With Google, “organic” is trending as a search term globally and is also expected to be a “sustained riser.” Along the same vein, “vegan” skincare, although still relatively low in volume compared to other top trends, has seen 83% growth year over year in the U.S and beginning to see growth in France.
Whether it’s from a growing distrust of brands, a heightened awareness regarding the use of harmful chemicals in skincare or an increased concern with being environmentally conscious, modern affluent consumers want to understand the origins, process, ingredients and impact of the luxury skincare products they’re investing in. Perhaps that’s why the luxury skincare and beauty brand Tata Harper — named after the founder — has become a best-seller on Sephora and a cult favorite as deemed by the “Queen of Beauty Bloggers,” Caroline Hirons and the likes of popular beauty blogs such as Into The Gloss.
The luxury beauty brand uses multiple high performance natural ingredients with high efficacy, and everything the company makes is formulated and manufactured on Harper’s 1,200-acre farm in Vermont. From third-party certifications (cruelty free, all natural ingredients, 100% vegetarian, etc) to its Open Lab and Traceability Program and introductions to each member of the manufacturing team prominently showcased on their website, the brand aptly claims the tagline: “Next Generation Beauty”.
Indeed, luxury beauty seems to be going through a revolution — one that is characterised by transparency in labeling, clean ingredients and an environmentally-conscious ethos. With the power of search behind them, consumers have the desire and the ability to understand what goes into their luxury skincare product. It is upon luxury beauty brands to exercise transparency online – everything from sourcing to production and efficacy.
3. Science-based Skincare
Science becomes ever more important in luxury skincare, and affluent consumers want all the details. Not only are affluent consumers educating themselves on the origins and processes of all-natural skincare, but those who prefer the tough-love, high-efficacy approach to great skin have been busy as well. Whether it’s lactic-acid toners, retinoid treatments or hyaluronic acid and alpha arbutin, beauty consumers are educating themselves through Youtube and beauty blogs to find out the exact science behind their luxury, science-based skincare products.
Luxury beauty brands like NIOD (a high-end line from science-based parent company Deciem) and Sunday Riley go into great lengths to describe the exact science behind their product and why their active ingredients are the perfect defense against anti-aging, inflammation, pigmentation, and the list goes on. Not surprisingly, the number of educational video content available around popular science-based skincare have risen with demand: A quick Youtube search pulls up 420,000 videos on Sunday Riley products only.
Besides Youtube influencer partnerships, an educational brand site and a very active Instagram presence targeted towards Millennials, email marketing has also become a go-to channel to show off luxury skincare brands’ science know-how. For instance, for the second-edition launch of a popular serum, NIOD sent out an email to its subscribers. It starts out like this:
Say a premature hello (launching in late May) to MMHC2, the next generation of NIOD’s best-selling Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex. This updated edition introduces two new forms of hyaluronic compounds, including a first-ever use of direct hyaluronic acid not in sodium salt form, for a combined total of 15 forms of hyaluronic compounds, hyaluronic precursors and a hyaluronic support technology in a peptide-charged delivery system.
Apparently, embracing one’s inner science geek pays off. Recently, The Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. became a Deciem (NIOD’s parent company) investor. Although on the extreme end of science-based luxury skincare, the success of NIOD speaks for itself.
So what caused this new wave of hyper-educated “skintellectuals”? One theory discussed by Luxe Digital, an expert publication on luxury through the digital lens, is that Millennials are savvy consumers who never take brands at face value. They want to know that brands are authentic, that there is substance behind the claims and that the facts check out. Even if that means getting a pseudo degree in skincare science.
Luxury skincare brands based in science need to communicate their solutions effectively. Those that feel they can charge a premium price point without backing up their claims will get left behind. Similarly, those that fail to establish credibility in the digital sphere — through 360 activation of owned, earned and paid channels — will struggle to gain traction in the luxury skincare playing field. Affluent consumers who want science based skincare solutions don’t just want to hear about the end result, they need to understand the evidence that supports the claims as well.
It is absolutely essential for luxury skincare marketers to step up their digital game and cater to eager consumers who not only demand transparency and a detailed ingredients list, but also welcome an educational component to their skincare. From how to create a multi-step skincare routine, the exact cultivation process for organic skincare ingredients, to the molecular compounds of science-based skincare products, there are clear opportunities for luxury skincare brands to participate in original content creation, quality partnerships and targeted digital activations.