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Storyboard18 | 2022 - Definitely, Maybe: Beauty for men, brand switching and ‘Skin Minimalism’

Predictions are a risky business. But we’re bravely venturing again to list the many ways things will change in the future. In these articles, we have industry leaders and experts trying to future-gaze and capture the transformative and disruptive ideas and trends that will ‘change everything as we know it’. (Or not.) In 2022, definitely, maybe.

December 29, 2021 / 03:12 PM IST
As consumers get ready to go back to the office, they are likely to focus more on improving skin health with products.

As consumers get ready to go back to the office, they are likely to focus more on improving skin health with products.

The beauty industry is undergoing a transformation, not only in response to the pandemic but also in redefining the true meaning of beauty and continuing to embrace technology. As we get set to welcome the new year, here are some overarching themes set to trend for 2022, from how the definition of beauty will evolve alongside progress being made in technology, sustainability, and inclusion across the industry.

1. Skin for the win 

Skincare will continue to drive beauty in 2022. As consumers continue to look at beauty primarily for self-improvement, there is an increased awareness about what a good skincare regime can achieve. Most of the consumers are getting ready to get back to their workplaces – and are more focused on improving skin health with products. This trend can be credited to increased sensitivity caused by factors such as wearing a mask, experimentation during lockdowns, eating habits, pandemic stress, and upcoming sudden exposure to pollution.

2. Beauty not just for women 

Male-marketed beauty and grooming will continue to see momentum in 2022. Apart from just the pandemic-induced lockdowns - when men experimented with products comfortably at home, this trend can be also attributed to increased awareness and interest in self-care, and the sudden availability of so many male grooming brands.

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3. RTB Shift - Purpose to drive the purchase 

Consumers will choose brands that are purpose-driven and will pick up a brand that is closer to their personal purpose. With the advent of purposeful and conscious consumption, consumers will be looking towards brands that enable them to make responsible choices. 2022 will be an inflection point and brands with a compelling purpose will stand out in the new year and beyond.

4. Sustainability – driving brand switch

While consumers do not actively seek eco-friendly brands today, they would switch to one given a similar product experience. This trend has picked up in the last couple of years even more, as consumers are becoming conscious overall. Sustainability benefits emerge as an opportunity for a brand to differentiate itself strategically and being a brand that cares for the environment resonates the most with consumers.

As brands start embedding a purpose, it will be important to leverage sustainability as an incremental advantage, without compromising on the core product benefits.

5. Occasion-led purchase vs festive purchase 

Consumers are looking up beauty products on occasions that are relevant to them. We will be moving towards occasion-led purchases, celebrating personal milestones of life. Marketers have already taken cognizance of this trend and are sending out relevant brand communications throughout the year, with the same rigour, as one would have done during the festive season before.

6. Focus on total wellbeing and skin minimalism 

With stress and mental health becoming front and centre since the onset of the pandemic, there is a greater focus on health, immunity, and total wellbeing.

This trend will also get manifested in the way consumers will increasingly pick personal care products that support mindful and relaxing rituals (facials, sheet masks, hair colour, etc.) to recuperate from the pressures of the day, promoting ‘me time’.

This has also resulted in ‘Skin Minimalism’ – consumers are more inclined to keep their skincare routines much simpler with quality products that cater to their concerns.

7. What works there, might not work here

Given the awareness and the beauty boom in the country, brands will continue to localize global beauty brands that would resonate better with Indian consumers. Consumers are looking at products that are specifically personalized for the Indian skin type, made with local ingredients that suit the Indian weather pattern, etc.

8. Personalization

Today, consumers are getting even more aware of their beauty needs due to social media and internet penetration. This informed consumer of today is aware of their own “skin/hair type” and would like their personalized needs to be catered to. Men present a huge opportunity for personalization, even more than women.

9. Tech to drive experiences

The pandemic resulted in a renewed focus on health and affected the transition to a low-touch economy. Earlier, consumers would physically try beauty products at the retail counter and an advisor would assist the consumer. Now we are seeing consumers trying products virtually aided by technologies like VR and AR backed by eConsultants and eDiagnosis. Further enhancing the overall consumer experience are interventions like virtual assistants/chatbots, which I think takes personalization to a whole new level and is here to stay.

10. Consumers without borders 

Owing to increased awareness and technological advancements like virtual try-ons, etc., that can be experienced anywhere, beauty is no longer an urban-only phenomenon. Consumers from tier 2 & 3 markets are also seeking products for self-improvement, self-care and celebrating personal milestones. The rise of awareness and ease of accessibility of products through a multichannel approach, including company stores and websites, e-commerce channels, and doorstep delivery, etc., will be driving the market further in 2022.
Amit Jain is managing director, L’Oréal India. Views expressed are personal.
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