Consumers’ economic concerns and the rising cost of living is impacting beauty trends in new and surprising ways as they seek affordable and cheap alternatives
From affordable brands by retailers to luxe-quality innovations, cheaper alternatives will have the limelight in 2023
Beauty has a long-held reputation for being recession-proof, and despite a year of soaring inflation and escalating supply costs, it is again holding true as dynamic sales propel the US$546bn global beauty market into 2023.
But trend analysts have found while beauty remains a resilient sector, consumers are reacting to economic shifts in different ways.
“Despite being one of the more recession-resistant industries, the cost of living crisis is already causing many people to reevaluate their beauty and personal care purchases,” says WGSN’s Director of Beauty, Clare Varga.
This has been picked up by a number of recent studies over the past year, with Superdrug finding that 80% of consumers are set to switch to cheaper brands.
Another study by Avon found that a quarter (26%) of UK women are giving up perfume and one in five women are choosing to go without make-up (20%) and skin care (15%) products.
Anna Keller, Global Senior Analyst, Beauty & Personal Care at Mintel tells Cosmetics Business: “As consumers across demographics react to economic shifts, trade-up and trade-down behaviour will be significant as priorities must change depending on individual financial circumstances.”
Here, Cosmetics Business gives a taster of five of the biggest budget beauty trends that will impact the industry in 2023.
Trend 1: 5 ways dupe culture is evolving
Budgets are being squeezed, and beauty dupes are gaining ground. As more consumers look for affordable product alternatives that compare well against more expensive beauty buys, dupe culture is evolving.
No longer one-off purchases, dupes are taking a permanent place in consumers’ beauty routines, while a new extreme form of ‘dupes of dupes’ culture is emerging as shoppers look for even cheaper versions of drugstore favourites.
In this trend, Cosmetics Business highlights five ways that dupe culture is changing in beauty, as it moves from a trend to a channel in its own right – one that offers affordable inclusivity.
Trend 2: Own-brand challengers
Purse-friendly and high quality buys have become the ultimate go-to purchases for the savvy beauty shopper.
And when it comes to tapping into the growing appeal of affordable beauty amid the current economic situation, retailers have been quick on the draw, doubling down on expanding their own-brand ranges.
The result has spurred a growing trend for new private label brands that are creating strong competition in the beauty market.
But these products and credentials not only appeal to today’s informed beauty shoppers, they are perfectly positioned to respond to the changes in how consumers are currently shopping. Is own-brand now poised to own it?
Trend 3: Affordable luxury
What does ‘luxury beauty’ mean in 2023? Budget-friendly brand The Ordinary is sold in premium department store Harrods, while The Inkey List rubs shoulders with La Mer in Selfridges.
Stateside, shoppers can buy prestige beauty in mass market retailer Walmart since it partnered with Space NK earlier this year.
But while retailers are mixing up their assortments of prestige and affordable brands, this wouldn’t have happened just five years ago. So what’s changed?
This trend explores how consumers now challenge the assumptions that have traditionally come with a high price tag, how beauty content is enabling them to make their own decisions across price points and how the ‘affordable luxury’ space is developing.
Trend 4: Mini size, maxi appeal
They may be diminutive in size, but the appeal of beauty minis is growing ever larger as more consumers look for ways to experience luxury beauty for less.
Beauty and fragrance minis are flying off the shelves for offering an affordable entry point to high end brands.
This hack particularly appeals to Gen Z consumers, who according to Pinterest, are 20% more likely than other generations to try out a new product to see if they would like it more than their current one.
This is translating to considerable success for retailers including John Lewis and Cult Beauty and brands such as Hair by Sam McKnight, Soho Skin and Floral Street.
Trend 5: Price comparison sites
Times may be tough but consumers are still spending on beauty – and they’re spending smarter.
As they look for ways to save money, the rise of beauty-specific price comparison sites such as Cosmetify, Klarna and SKIN – and their investment in user-friendly tools – has made it particularly easy for consumers to do so.
Are they about to become the go-to starting point for shopping journeys?