Schneidman estimates that 95 per cent of fragrances and personal care lines from fashion brands are licensed. Among the exceptions are Chanel, the LVMH group and Dolce & Gabbana, which pivoted in February to take beauty back in-house. Since August, rumours have circulated that Kering plans to follow suit. However, groups such as Coty and L’Oréal will continue to play an important role as “a lot of celebrities and fashion houses don’t have the capabilities to [manufacture and distribute products] by themselves,” he adds.

Meanwhile, growing awareness of misinformation, fake reviews and so-called sponcon means that consumers are asking more questions about products, ingredients and efficacy, says Olivia Houghton, deputy foresight creative editor and lead beauty analyst at The Future Laboratory, which identified accreditation as one of the defining beauty, health and wellness trends for the year. Amid surging inflation and resulting price increases, as well as a more health-focused mindset since the pandemic, research, testing, proof points and facts can help brands to foster understanding, trust and positive sentiment among consumers, she says. “Hard data and science are bringing trust back to the beauty sector that has typically been powered by inflated claims and surface-level results.”

Brands are already becoming more meticulous about the claims that they’re making. Science-led skincare company Deciem, for example, has a regular PR team as well as a dedicated scientific communications team, whose “responsibility” is ensuring that it is “not misleading consumers on product benefit”, according to the company. The two work hand-in-hand. “We ensure that all educational content and product efficacy claims are true, can be supported with clinical trial data, and are not deceiving our customers.”

What’s next

Looking ahead to 2023, science and technology can help safeguard beauty brands against future shocks, secure supply chains and provide fresh ideas for products and experiences, says The Future Laboratory’s Houghton. “Brands can position their in-house expertise as their USP and make scientific innovation their point of difference in a crowded marketplace.” As corporate responsibility continues to be a priority, brands should think beyond slapping a blanket term such as “vegan”, “clean” or “natural” on a product, adds Schneidman. 

One of the categories most ripe for disruption is fragrance. Byredo is testing what fragrance can look or smell like in the digital realm. In June, the fragrance brand teamed up with digital fashion startup Rtfkt on 26 wearable digital “auras”. The virtually rendered ingredients represent emotions that consumers can select to wear online, to express their mood.

Maintaining a seamless omnichannel experience will remain paramount, says Schneidman. “Online is the best place to drive awareness, to find your customer, to learn and to validate your product. But the cost of acquisition online is expensive,” he says. “Consumers want to smell, feel and look at a product [so] the physical store is back. Beauty is a unique category that is both emotional, functional and transformative. And so with that, people want to have a personalised experience and [the ability] to try the product [online and offline].” 

Comments, questions or feedback? Email us at [email protected].

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