Trends in the Cosmetics Industry

US and Europe


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    The cosmetics industry is seeing a renaissance, as consumers adjust to a hybrid work-life existence in this post pandemic era, but don’t expect makeup buying habits to return to what they were. Aligning with the convenience of fast, low-maintenance looks adopted during the past couple of years, flexible and low-key beauty lifestyles are gaining prominence. Natural and vegan cosmetics also continue to grow in popularity as the world becomes more conscious of ingredients and their overall environmental impact. And with inflation surging, consumers are prioritizing fewer products that deliver more effective results, personalized to their preferences and needs. For brands, this translates into an expanded set of consumer expectations to be met, many of which will shape the landscape of the cosmetics and beauty industry.

    In order to help our brand and agency partners navigate the year ahead, we’ve put together a primer on some key trends to watch out for in the cosmetics industry and offer up some strategies to contend with today’s changing consumer profile.


    Current Landscape of the Cosmetics Industry


    Both USA and Europe are seeing bounce-backs in cosmetics sales:

    Revenue 2023

    Growth forecast CAGR 2023-2027

    Revenue 2023

    Growth forecast CAGR 2023-2027



    Prestige Cosmetics sales in the US are growing due to premiumization of ingredients and new buyers: 



    Six Marketing Strategies for the Cosmetics Industry

    Cosmetics buyers today can take their pick from a plethora of offerings from old-guard brands as well as the rising tide of indie entrants -- all catering to their specific requirements and desires for expression. As a result, consumers are purchasing across an ever wider range of brand and price categories in order to best suit their needs. 71% of buyers said they tried a beauty or personal care product that was new to them in 2022, with 54% claiming to have used novel makeup products. As e-commerce and social commerce are making it easier than ever for consumers to access new cosmetic products and experiment with the latest trends, brands have a unique opportunity to reach entirely new audiences and demographics. See also our tips on beauty industry marketing.



    Get Social With Influencers

    Social media has established itself as an essential channel for brands looking to launch and grow cult followings with viral reach. According to the Fashion Network, TikTok is the social media platform with the strongest impact on growth for beauty brands, with #tiktokmademebuyit having racked up over three billion views, and 89% of TikTok users having purchased beauty products after seeing them on the app.   Beauty brands are using TikTok partnerships as an opportunity to align with, engage and build trust within their target audiences.


    Half Magic, a brand started by Doniella Davy, a make-up artist for the actresses on the hit US teen drama Euphoria, used TikTok and the hashtag #EuphoriaMakeUp to encourage people to post videos of themselves putting on makeup inspired by the show. With 2.1B views, Half Magic is emblematic of how new brands and trends now flourish on social media.

    euphoria half magic


    Gen Z oriented brand E.l.f. created a #eyeslipsface challenge on TikTok tying into the E.l.f. acronym. Users could upload a video of themselves dancing to an original song and post using the hashtag for the chance to win $250 worth of E.l.f. products. The campaign earned over 9.7 billion views, mainly due to organic participation by celebrities who got in on the trend.

    elf campaign


    Benefit Cosmetics started a Game Face program as an influencer-oriented push to connect gaming and beauty through streamers sharing their “game face” looks on Twitch, as well as their pre-streaming makeup routines. Now, the brand is expanding its commitment to gaming with tournament series designed to amplify emerging female streamers.

    benefit gameface

    Influencer-oriented Live Commerce: During the pandemic, live commerce experienced a dramatic boom and an explosion in livestream shopping options offered by social platforms, brands and retailers alike, with viewers able to see ‘before and after’ results. In China, where livestreaming is more widely embraced, two influencers, Austin Li and Viya, reportedly sold $3.1 billion worth of products during one night of a shopping festival.

    austin li

    Augment Digital Offerings for Personalized Experiences

    Beauty brands are increasingly adopting immersive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) to provide personalized experiences and increase customer engagement. Cultural happenings have also had a big impact on the use of AI and AR technology, as the pandemic has been a catalyst for brands adopting these digital experiences. Store closures due to COVID-19 meant that shoppers were unable to browse and purchase beauty items in physical stores, and AI tools that allowed people to ‘virtually try on’ cosmetics became more widely used.  50% of UK female consumers now say they would be interested in using an app to receive personalized makeup tips .  Gen Z is a large driving force in this development, with 68.3% of Gen Z in Europe keen to get personalized, AI-based recommendations.

    Estée Lauder has utilized AI and AR technology to launch personalized virtual try-on makeup solutions. Data has shown that Estée Lauder saw a 2.5 times higher conversion rate using its Lip Virtual Try-on, and that its iMatch Virtual Shade Expert increased the brand’s customer loyalty.

    Estee imatch

    Build Transparency into Processes

    Cosmetics consumers are looking for more information on the products they purchase than ever before. They’re concerned not just with the overall health benefits of the ingredients being utilized, but also the ethical nature in which those ingredients are sourced. As beauty consumers become more selective than ever, they’re interested in purchasing from brands who share their ingredient lists in an upfront and open manner. As a reflection, 81% of beauty product searches on Amazon are unbranded, as shoppers are looking for attributes rather than brand names. To compete in such a space, transparency is becoming the marketing watch-word.


    Swedish startup Skinfo is helping consumers take control of their choices by creating ingredient transparency widgets for beauty products sold on e-commerce sites. The widgets explain every ingredient function, skin effects, allergens, vitamin highlights, botanical names, and origin information.

    German startup AFTS developed a blockchain-based cosmetics tracking platform that measures sustainability of cosmetics production. By fostering transparency and traceability within the cosmetics supply chain, it is working to increase trust among customers.


    Promote Makeup in the Metaverse

    There’s been lots of hype about the advent of the metaverse over the last couple of years, and the potential of virtual spaces to enhance consumer experiences and sell products is huge. Up to 60% of Millenials will consider making purchases in virtual worlds. Many beauty brands have entered the metaverse and have been experimenting with these platforms. Brands can use Web3 features such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to deliver exclusive experiences for their customers. Issuing an NFT can, for example, help a small company kickstart a community, and for a larger brand, an NFT could replace a membership card.

    Bakeup, a “digital-first” brand is using the metaverse to highlight makeup’s potential as a means to express one’s individuality. The brand created a gemstone-embellished eye veil, as part of a “wearable” digital makeup NFT collection that can be worn, traded and sold in the metaverse.



    MAC Cosmetics unveiled a limited-edition Keith Haring lipcolor collection, complete with a related NFT collection. The collection features three illustrations of MAC Viva Glam lipsticks decorated with Haring’s most famous artwork, with proceeds going to support organizations fighting for healthy futures and equal rights for all.


    Beauty brand Buxom created a gamified experience in the virtual world of Decentraland, wherein users can unlock rewards by completing specific tasks and games every month. By collecting limited-edition proof of attendance protocols from each event, users also have the chance to win a year’s worth of Buxom products.


    Foster Diversity & Inclusivity

    Nowadays, brands are reacting to society’s voice in their marketing campaigns, with issues surrounding transparency, diversity and inclusion becoming key factors shaping brands’ strategic and business decisions. 41% of UK consumers now value beauty brands committed to ethical working practices, with 36% also willing to pay more for brands that respect human rights. For Gen Z, “2D identity” is a thing of the past, and brands catering to this generation’s vision of radical inclusion are designing neurodivergent-conscious products and experiences, with the goal of increased accessibility.

    The Estée Lauder Companies created an AI-powered Voice-Enabled Makeup Assistant (VMA) application, to help visually impaired users more easily and confidently apply makeup. The move follows recent beauty accessibility launches, including L'Oréal's HAPTA handheld computerized makeup applicator for users with limited hand and arm mobility. VMA uses AI and voice instruction technologies to assist in application by assessing their face and giving audio feedback and tips on whether their lipstick, eyeshadow, or foundation is evenly applied.


    Nurture Loyalty Via Deals and Promotions

    The U.S. inflation rate reached 6% in 2023, with color cosmetics and nails facing average unit price increases of 19% year-over-year, according to NielsenIQ data. In addition, department stores and mass channels are both experiencing 20% increases in pricing in the beauty sector. These price increases are notable because 36% of beauty consumers are financially constrained, which could lead to cutbacks in purchases of color cosmetics as non-essential expenses. As of May 2022, NielsenIQ research indicated that many beauty consumers were already using the following money-saving strategies:⁠

    • 51% stock up when a product is on sale
    • 41% use coupons
    • 38% seek out stores with lower prices
    • 27% only buy items on sale
    • 25% buy less expensive alternatives
    • 25% shop with retailers that offer loyalty points

    This is not limited to the US. With looming economic pressures in Europe, 76% of UK female consumers shop around to find the best prices when buying makeup. Brands can boost loyalty by offering promotions, discounts, and gamified deals to attract a broader swath of shoppers. Additionally, loyalty programs that collect first-party consumer behavioral data to create insight-driven promotional strategies are growing increasingly important to brands as cookies fade out.


    E.l.f. Cosmetics invests strongly in its loyalty program, Beauty Squad, which currently has over 3Mn members. The brand is seeing double-digit retention rates through its loyalty program initiatives to better understand the needs of its primarily younger customers. Examples include the use of quizzes to create an online skincare analysis that collects information like skin type and number of products used, along with basic details like birth dates, names and email addresses. E.l.f. has also invested in a mobile app to localize traffic, offering features like a virtual makeup tool and shoppable stories. Today, 95% of its loyalty members report that they prefer shopping on the app over the web.

    Elf beauty


    The cosmetics industry is seeing an increased consumer focus on product usability and overall sustainability, driven by a desire for ethically-manufactured products that also straddle the line with skincare. Despite economically challenging times, it’s becoming evident that consumers will still spend on cosmetics that make their life simpler and that address their values.  For brands, connecting with today’s beauty buyer will involve keeping pace with growing consumer needs for open sourcing, transparency, and greater inclusivity -- and with consumers prioritizing attributes over brand names, agile brands will tap into data-driven promotional strategies to increase their visibility in a crowded marketplace.


    About Snipp

    Snipp provides promotions and loyalty programs designed to engage customers across the entire path to purchase - in-store, at home and online. Clients can run one-off promotions to evergreen loyalty programs that meet objectives at a brand, shopper, category, and portfolio level and customizable by region, language, channel, retailer and more.

    SnippCARE, our modular Customer Acquisition, Retention & Engagement platform, powered by our market-leading receipt processing platform for purchase and non=purchase validation, enables implementation of ROI-driven, omni-channel programs, globally. We capture zero-party data in real time and build proprietary data sets, driving engagement, personalization and brand loyalty and enabling intelligent decision-making. It’s tailor-made for brands to build deeper relationships with their customers.

    For over a decade, we have worked with the world’s leading organizations in both B2C and B2B spaces, across industry verticals including CPG, retail, pharma, utility, home and outdoor, alcohol, tobacco, lifestyle and more.

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