Can Cosmetic Brands Continue To Be The Main Providers of Beauty?

July 2015

A convergence of technology developments in beauty and in communications transforms our relationship with personal care and beauty products and solutions.

The online is a retail proxy -- a key platform both for information and directing purchases.

Legacy companies must adapt to retain their position as the main provider of beauty.


People's relationship with beauty is being transformed by a convergence of technology revolutions. They include the technologies that have developed new beauty and communications (internet, smart phones, social media) solutions.

The traditional beauty industry must compete to protect its market share. How it handles these technology developments will determine whether it will retain its position as the premier provider of beauty, or it relinquishes the crown to others. The challenge is that millions of consumers globally are unsentimental about many elements of the legacy beauty market the brands, the technologies, the retailers, and the advertising.

A retail proxy
Beauty buyers are now mobile. Millions have migrated to the online. The online is now the first source they consult for brand intelligence. It is a retail proxy. It directs buyers towards purchases, and informs about alternative products and brands.

Beauty buyers go online because it is rich in high value information, that is, the solutions that are relevant to their hair and skin care needs and regimes. The online is used to access the lived beauty experiences of real women and girls, people 'just like me'. Those experiences are superior to low value beauty information that is, advertisements and paid promotions.

Competition from outside the cosmetic box
Technology developments are shaping both new beauty solutions and new relationships between consumers and beauty. The "cosmetic" is no longer THE reference point for beauty. Cosmetic brands are getting a good run from beauty that is scientific that is holistic that is beauty as wellness from within; or that is technology based (such as new devices and tools). These new solutions largely developed under the cosmetic radar.

Scientific skincare is an example of how different developments from 'outside the legacy beauty box' have converged to create 'new beauty'. Scientific products and treatments are marketed as medical (rather than as cosmetic). They benefit not only from the credibility of the "white coat" (science), but also of alternative (natural) medical traditions from around the world.

Wellness is now a prism through which many people understand and interpret beauty. A minority movement went global in a short space of time. This belief (that wellness delivers beauty) was once dismissed as outlandish but is now a reality and a market which is worth billions.

Developments in beauty and in communications have been instrumental in heightening both consumers' awareness of ingredients, and their concerns about adverse impacts. The concerns about ingredients in beauty focus on synthetics and chemicals which is exactly the same debate we are having about the foods we eat.

Technology developments in devices and tools have revolutionised consumers' beauty expectations, and introduced new benchmarks for the entire industry. Devices and tools allow consumers to benefit from the superior beauty outcomes these innovations deliver. As this technology improves solutions for a range of common problems, which once were restricted to a minority, are affordable for the majority.

Diagonal Reports
Diagonal Reports (www.diagonalreports.com) has been tracking consumers' beauty expectations, and the regimes which determine the products and technologies used for many years.
Analysis is global and is based on the face-to-face interviews we conduct with hair care and skin care category experts at the point-of-sales in each country. The beauty buyer has ventured outside the cosmetic box and we follow the consumer.

Fuller details (sample pages, contents, etc) on all reports and analyses available on request