By James Manso, July 21, 2023 || BeautyInc. – A Publication of WWD
BEAUTY IS BOOMING — and so is Cosmoprof North America.
The beauty trade show, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in Las Vegas last week, saw a swell of entrants flock to the floor. “Forty- four percent of the attendees at Cosmoprof are brand new,” said Liza Rapay, head of marketing, Cosmoprof North America. “It’s a testament to the industry, to what we do, and it’s not just visitors. It’s exhibitors.”
As always, the crowd was on the hunt for innovation, in key categories like skin care, as well as smaller ones like nail. Here, the key takeaways from Cosmoprof North America 2023.
Skin Care for the Win
Cutting- edge skin care is still driving retail growth, thanks to a slew of innovation from brands and suppliers. “From a product point of view, high-tech skin care is doing exceptionally well for us,” said Noah Rosenblatt, president, North America, SpaceNK. “In our retail and in all of our retail partners, we’ve seen high-tech skin care do very well. We’re also finding that the hair care boom continues to happen. Even with what we call iconic brands, those are still doing very well, and newness is still performing in the category. Those two areas make up over 70 percent of our total business.”
Wendy Liebmann, chief executive officer of WSL Strategic Retail, noted a preponderance of skin care at the show. “There was a lot of serious stuff with skin care,” she said, “and more serious appliances.”
To that end, standouts included Geske, the German-based device brand, which is preparing to launch into the U.S. market later this year, and the JOVS 4D Focus Mask, which has concentrated light output density that is said to allow for deeper penetration of light to regenerate collagen, tighten skin and improve hyperpigmentation.
Because I’m Worth It
The treat mindset continues to drive prestige beauty’s double-digit growth, which is outpacing the mass market in terms of sales. “We talk a lot about the treat mindset, because when you think about the mass market, it’s more about convenience, it’s more transactional, and about already being in-store,” said Larissa Jensen, vice president of beauty, Circana. “For prestige, it’s more about the experience, the destination. When you look at the two markets together, you look at the performance of each, that’s where the mindset comes into play. If you’re going to treat yourself, you’re going to do it with a higher- end product, maybe at Sephora, Ulta or Macy’s.”
That mindset is also benefitting SpaceNK, Rosenblatt said. “The ability to work at scale has been tremendous for us,” he said. “Through our partnerships with all of our retailers, regardless of being through the prestige channel at Walmart or our luxury channel with Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s or even Hudson’s Bay up in Canada, the scalability of our business has changed the way that we operate. That’s one of our biggest things, we’re finding ways to perfect our platform that is very different from what we were previously.”
Age of Discovery
Brands and suppliers that are rethinking traditional formats caught the eyes of many retailers. Thirteen Lune’s cofounder Nyakio Grieco was a judge of the Cosmoprof and Cosmopack Awards, and was particularly impressed by Solésence Beauty Science Natural Glow Face Oil SPF 40+. “It’s an SPF hybrid that is applied as a serum,” she explained. “It gave you all of the skin care benefits, as well as this natural, beautiful glow with SPF protection.”
Meanwhile, Liebmann was smitten by a makeup brand that reminded her of Mentos candy. “It just made you smile,” she said. Other standouts included the Korea-based brand ReSaltz, which showed a facial soap bar shaped like a gua sha for a double-tasking application.
Blur the Lines
As the prestige and mass channels continue to blur, those that can achieve agility at scale are poised to capture share.
“With traditional retailers, whether mass or prestige, the big challenge they have is just too many doors,” Liebmann said. “How do you bring that legitimate, authentic experience when you’ve got 1,000 doors or 500 department stores? And how do you deal with that when you’ve got direct-to-consumer, when you’ve got digital? That’s the biggest challenge because that’s where the scale of the business is done.”
“With bigger retailers particularly, the consumer is eager, even through the pandemic for different categories. Retailers have to understand that they’re not coming to it the same way they did five years ago. If you think about that, there’s an opportunity to better connect,” she continued.
Black- owned brands in key categories continue to resonate. “I’m inspired by some of the launches that I’m seeing in the Black-owned brand space, specifically the Harlem Candle Company, which launched a fragrance line this week that is beautiful innovation-wise,” said Jaclyn Diamond, buyer, trend beauty, Macy’s Inc. August Alsina’s cruelty-free skin care brand, Encina, showcased its pillowy powdered exfoliator, among a cleanser, moisturizer and serum; Shhy Beauty presented its multifunctional products across skin, hair and body care.
Less mainstream categories, like nail, are also having a moment. “I saw Voesh, which I was really into,” said Monica Sheldon, merchant, prestige beauty, Walmart, of the New York-based vegan brand. “There’s a pedicure in a box, which was very fun.” She also gave a shout-out to Lash Spell, a lash-enhancing serum cofounded by Tara Spell and her brother.
Similarly, a nail polish grip from Mani Maker — a patent-pending, ergonomic grip to put on nail polish caps — aims to help consumers with arthritis paint their nails with more precision, and took home a Cosmoprof Award for the design.
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