As the skincare category continues to sore through the pandemic, the beauty industry’s most prominent players are looking to science and data to make more sales. And it’s an effort that’s working.
L’Oréal Paris’ latest marketing campaign, for example, has been developed to deliver data-driven messaging, highlight testimonials from real-life scientists and references to core ingredients behind the promoted products. The company’s hyaluronic acid serum campaign ads, especially those that feature scientists explaining how key ingredients work, have yielded higher returns than those that feature actresses Eva Longoria.
The move might be perhaps influenced by brands the conglomerate has acquired in recent years, including Cerave and Skinceuticals, who have built their product marketing around these tactics.
The acquisitions of these brands have also helped L’Oréal’s skincare portfolio grow by 19 percent last year and has boosted the company’s business even as company-wide sales fell 4 percent in 2020.
As travel bans were put in place and lockdowns were mandated, L’Oréal’s brands such as Lancôme, Kiehl’s, Redken, Kérastase and Nyx suffered the consequences.
That said, Delphine Viguier, L’Oréal Paris president Delphine Viguier said the company plans to double down on skincare and science in order to recover from the year prior.
“Science is an asset I intend to use beyond efficacy,” said Viguier. “When we say how is it working, how did we test it, why is it safe, the purchase is much higher.”
But as L’Oréal has made this discovery, so have other players in the space. For example, Estée Lauder witnessed sales double during the pandemic for its most science-focused brand Dr. Jart+.
And while some brands are turning to data and science, others have turned to acquisition to boost their business. For example, Coty entered into a $600 million deal with Kylie Jenner for a 51 percent stake in Kylie Skin. More recently, the company went onto sign a $200 million deal with Kim Kardashian’s KKW Beauty for a 20 percent stake in the company in an effort to stay relevant in the skincare game.
“When it comes to Kim Kardashian — and again, we are clearly positioning these 2 brands very differently. Kylie becoming a key destination for any beauty need when it comes to Gen Z and millennials. Clearly, this is the way we’re going to expand Kylie in the future. And it’s going to be across several categories and not linked to specific categories,” said Sue Nabi, a L’Oréal veteran who was named Coty’s chief executive last year during an earnings call. “When it comes to Kim, we are progressing very well hand-in-hand with Kim in creating, hopefully, a skincare line that’s going to be, again, new, better and different, and bringing, to her hundreds and hundreds of millions of followers around the world, the ability to access the latest dermatological or ingredient or, I would say, health, skin health trends that her followers are looking for.”
However, Coty has its work cut out as its shares plummeted 15 percent after reporting weaker-than-expected sales on Tuesday.
This suggests that brands that are focussing on data and science in making and marketing their products are likely to see higher returns than their competitors.
“Since the COVID-19 crisis, science is seen much more seriously and considered in a more positive light — these are the guys who are doing the vaccine,” said Vigiuer. “That’s driving the market toward something more medical, more dermatological.”
But will this trend stay relevant in a post-pandemic world? While numbers are convincing, it’s testimonials and the overall quality of the product that will keep customers coming back.