It is certainly peak time for beauty - in the coming years we expect to see strong growth and the industry reaching a value of 580 billion by 2027 - but, in order to continue to grow, companies will have to take the ongoing changes in consumer behaviour on board.  A survey conducted by the consulting firm McKinsey, involving consumers of four different generations in six different countries (USA, China, UK, Germany and Italy), revealed that more than half of the respondents habitually use at least a couple of different brands for their beauty routine, while a third go as far as to use five or more brands and while 40% are loyal to their brand, 60% change products at least after 6 months. The trend is clear: within the various categories, consumers are diversifying, experimenting, looking for new products and “specialised” brands that can provide a targeted response to their needs. As consumers are open to trying new things, category opportunities are evolving and completely new avenues of growth could open up for the beauty sector, where beauty and wellness are intertwined.  

In all cases, sustainability remains a top priority for many consumers. With all the nuances that the concept of sustainability can have. When McKinsey asked consumers which aspects of sustainability mattered most when choosing a product, the answers were: the absence of ingredients that harm the environment, 100% natural formulas, and cruelty-free and non-animal-tested production. Interestingly, depending on the country of origin, there were differences in the answers given by respondents on the strategies to be adopted by brands: Chinese respondents placed more emphasis on natural and environmentally friendly manufacturing ingredients, while those in the West placed a high value on cruelty-free production.

Overall, the focus on sustainability is stronger among Millennials and members of Gen-Z, with more than half of the respondents saying they would be willing to pay more for beauty products from a sustainable brand. Another key element in the future of beauty is Generation Z. This generation will make up around a quarter of the world’s population by 2030 and will have a huge influence on the industry due to its ability to use social channels to express dislikes and likes, to influence older generations and to disrupt entrenched ideas.