November 29, 2023

Key appointments led the way for 2022’s fourth quarter, as large scale
brands followed through with reshuffles of their leadership teams.
Meanwhile, these months saw the beauty industry make solid commitments in
the field of digitalisation, with the opening of virtual stores or the
integration of augmented reality (AR) features to expand shopper
experience. Like the months prior, acquisitions and investments also played
a prominent role, with big players expanding their portfolios and start-ups
snapping up strong financing.

Appointments and key hires

2022’s fourth quarter was largely driven by a cohort of various
appointments across the industry. With Sephora announcing its re-entry into
the UK market, the LVMH-owned company appointed Sarah Boyd as managing director of its business
in the region. Meanwhile, the company also named Deborah Yeh as global chief purpose officer
. Beauty giant L’Oréal also made a number of appointments,
including that of its first chief transformation officer for the North
American business and a new global president of luxury fragrances,
revealed to be Sandrine Groslier. Macy’s also looked to step up its
fragrance division through its new SVP Center Core and Beauty, who previously
led its fragrance division. Jessica Alba’s clean beauty brand The Honest
Company further appointed Carla Vernón as CEO, in which she has
been tasked with category growth and business expansion.

Meanwhile, major shifts happened at Bath & Body works, which named Gina Boswell as its CEO weeks after appointing Kelie Charles as chief diversity officer. Shifts
also defined the quarter for Shiseido, which revealed its president was stepping down from the position to
be replaced by the company’s current COO. Similarly, Revolution Beauty also appointed a new CEO. Bob Holt, who held the role
on an interim basis, will be taking on the position in full as the company
continues its ongoing investigation into its audit reporting.

Beauty comes to the metaverse

While still trailing behind fashion brands, the beauty industry has
begun to make its mark in the digital landscape through various platforms
and investment vehicles that hope to speed up the market’s impact in the
sector. While brands like L’Oréal have launched metaverse-focused accelerator programmes, other
brands have taken to opening virtual stores in a bid to become more
interactive for shoppers. Charlotte Tilbury’s immersive festive pop-up with Obsess allowed for
branded personalisation, while aesthetic skin doctor Barbara Strum extended
her physical presence into an open world virtual environment. Other
integrations saw the use of blockchain technology as a method of
transparency, as evident in the launch of Clarins’ T.R.U.S.T. platform, where shoppers can
access “reliable” information on products.

Meanwhile, other brands explored the digital world through augmented
reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) features. Babor debuted an online skin coach to complement its
Digital Skin Advisor feature, citing the need for brand loyalty. Avon introduced a virtual try-on feature for its site,
allowing shoppers to try products on before buying, through a partnership
with tech firm Perfect Corp., which went public on the New York Stock Exchange in
November. The same could also be said for British e-commerce retailer Very,
which also introduced a virtual try-on, albeit using
ModiFace technology. In addition to its acceleration programme, L’Oréal partnered with Ready Player Me to provide the
avatar creation platform with hair and makeup looks inspired by its own

Acquisitions, start-ups and launches

One of the biggest launches for Q4 was Sephora’s re-entry into the UK market. Next to its new
e-commerce site, the beauty giant also unveiled a campaign to complement
its opening. Meanwhile, over at Revlon, the company was reportedly looking into potential sale offers amid its
bankruptcy filing, a process that it had started back in Q3. Similarly
troubled brand Revolution Beauty also saw some changes, with
acquisition-hungry Boohoo upping its stake in the firm making it the single
largest shareholder. The company further appointed a new CEO after its founder stepped
down amid an investigation into its auditing for FY22 reports. Shifts also
happened in the fragrance sector, with the likes of Hugo Boss renewing its COTY licensing deal, while
Lacoste shifted its perfume licensing from Coty to Interparfums for a 15-year

Meanwhile, L’Oréal was again making some substantial moves, with the acquisition of a minority stake in French biotech firm
. Together, the duo plan to develop projects that would
merge the company’s technology with the conglomerate’s portfolio brands.
Additionally, L’Oréal also launched the new luxury brand Shihyo via a third
party, joint venture. Start-ups also saw a number of wins over the past
months, many of which had secured significant funding to scale their
businesses. While the female-founded Faace was set to launch a debut crowdfunding, Azores Life Science, Topicals, Heyday and acne brand Peace Out all closed promising funding rounds.


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