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Published January 25, 2019
Published January 25, 2019
Jeannie Joshi

Presented in November of 2018, below is an overview of the latest in niche concepts, drivers, and experiences in the luxury tier that set the bar for luxe in personal care. Where are these trends coming from and how is personal care adapting to the needs of the market? More from Jeannie Joshi and Leena Sukumar below in a “duet” content summary that sheds some light on the current state and future of luxe and personal care.

Differentiating Luxury, by Jeannie Joshi

Inspiration to make sure your message reflects the luxury brand story, as highlighted in the original report “Luxury Newly Defined, from Premium Beauty to Social Responsibility” featured in Beauty Packaging Magazine.

10 opportunities for a brave new world of luxe niche beyond the here and now:

  1. Imagination is priceless.
  2. Heritage is pride.
  3. Authenticity is power.
  4. Sustainable is beautiful.
  5. Time is natural.
  6. Space is sublime.
  7. Travel is meaningful.
  8. Keepsake is eternal.
  9. Craft is art.
  10. And, Impermanence is the only constant.

According to Euromonitor, experiences account for 55% of luxury spend worldwide, and rare experiences are becoming more prized. Consumer values are shifting from owning to experiencing. As the luxury demographic grows increasingly blurred and exclusivity rises (with experiential getaways and sensory entertainment, conscious purchases, sustainable self-care, and social responsibility), what does the future of luxury look like? Hint: it’s about the product and the narrative.

Luxury consumers first and foremost crave authenticity (made by hand). Authenticity meets curation: heritage, fine materials, and the utmost attention to detail become vital elements to draw the consumer into the brand. Sustainable solutions are a priority for eco-conscious brands and especially for environmentally friendly packaging solutions. Consumers are willing to pay more for socially responsible items—products from brands working in harmony with nature.

The senses are also being targeted, as luxury consumers now value unusual sensations through food, flavor, and scent innovation. The future of luxury in its various evolutionary forms is becoming diversified and, most importantly, inclusive, expanding into lifestyle, travel, and wellness.

As reported by McKinsey & Company, emerging countries will account for more than 55% of the total luxury spend in 2025, “with seven new cities landing on the list of top luxury cities: Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro, Shenzhen, and Tianjin.” Studies show that by 2025, the top luxury growth categories in emerging markets are women’s ready-to-wear (32%), luxury spirits (44%), and high-end cosmetics (47%).

For a large segment of luxury consumers, personal care and wellness are the most significant displays of affluence.

Key Themes, by Leena Sukumar

As spending power across the world increases, what was once considered luxury and limited to a select few, is now becoming more accessible downstream. Personal care is changing from peripheral and perfunctory to something central in people’s lives. Aspirational products and experiences are fueled by tech advances and the information era, paving the way for innovations to trickle down and become available to the masses.

Fast-moving digital technology and innovations are steadily reshaping retail experiences and personal care in the home. AR, VR, AI, voice-assisted shopping are changing the landscape and driving real-world decision making.

This convergence of digital and luxury are reshaping 5 categories of personal care:

  1. Face: There is a growing popularity of premium devices for at-home therapies such as facial uplifts with nano current-based devices and skin-stimulating massagers. Personalization as a mega trend (bolstered by genetic and epigenetic testing in some cases) is changing the way in which brands customize products, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. Simple and easy-to-understand packaging and a continued trend towards natural, organic, or clean products (even if these terms are vaguely defined) and affordable luxe are deriving from the “less is more” principle.
  2. Body: Overall increase in body awareness from a pro-aging vs. anti-aging perspective, is sanctioning a body-positive approach to self-care. There is a surge in female-oriented and female-driven product companies to ease women’s pain points and a move away from products with chemically synthesized phthalates and other endocrine disruptors towards natural solutions.
  3. Hair: Haircare is having its moment in the limelight with many new brands seeking to create innovations in hair styling, hair analysis, custom formulations, and clean products. We are seeing new modes and formats for hair color, the fastest-growing major category among salon products. There is also a large and underserved hair-growth market. Companies are aiming to tackle the age-old hair-loss problem via solutions as varied as stem cell injections, repackaged minoxidil formulations for millennials, and ingestibles, to reduce hair loss and stimulate follicle activity.
  4. Nutrition: Plant proteins, superfoods such as mushrooms, matcha turmeric, ginseng, the all-popular cannabis, and other wonder plants indigenous to different regions of the world are being marketed heavily to the wellness-oriented customer in the form of supplements, powder, and liquids. Non-alcoholic bars offering drinks to promote immunity, beauty, detox, vitality, energy, sleep, and anti-aging, and freshly churned liquid vitamin shots via a dispenser at home, are changing the consumption of nutrients.
  5. Lifestyle: The wellness home, wired for IoT, is impacting air conditioning, utility consumption, delivery, storage, cooking, and disposal. Concepts such as forest bathing and other activities to promote a healthier lifestyle are all the rage, supplemented by VR experiences to calm the mind down, in the absence of actual natural surroundings.

Overall, luxury consumerism is understated rather than conspicuous and in-your-face, and informed by a mission to make the world a better place. There is a deeper desire for balance between luxury, efficacy and clean. Whether it’s sustainable ingredients and packaging, or a movement away from excess use of plastic in favor of more earthy materials, this desire to do good while feeling good is becoming prevalent. Luxury and technology sets the bar in personal care, and many affordable indie brands are following the cue, pushing boundaries in spaces that were previously unexplored and forcing bigger companies to step up and think more innovatively.


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