Decreased consumer demand for cosmetics and fragrances amid continued social distancing will restrain the recovery in beauty and personal luxury advertising to 1.7% in 2021, according to Zenith’s Business Intelligence – Beauty and Personal Luxury report. This is below the 4.4% growth rate for total adspend in the 11 key markets included in the report. Beauty adspend will total US$7.5bn across these markets in 2021, and then rise to US$7.7bn in 2022, growing by 2.6%, compared to 4.5% for the market as a whole.
Beauty and personal luxury adspend fell roughly in line with the market in 2020. The sharp drop in spending on cosmetics and fragrances as people stopped meeting in person was mitigated by continued demand for both hair and skin care. With hairdressers and salons harder to reach, consumers took hair care into their own hands at home. Skin care, meanwhile, benefited from the heightened desire for health-enhancing products during the pandemic.
During the recovery, though, overall demand for beauty will not change much as consumers remain reluctant to return to their pre-pandemic habits, reducing sales of cosmetics and fragrances in particular. Most beauty and personal luxury brands will not raise budgets substantially, and will be more likely to redeploy spending from underperforming channels instead.
Better environments and ecommerce help digital compensate for declining reach of magazines and TV
Beauty and personal luxury brands spend much more of their budgets on magazines and TV than the average brand. Beauty, the quintessential category of appearance, thrives on its ability to create emotional connections through imagery in a high-quality environment. Zenith estimates that in 2020 beauty brands spent 18.3% of their budgets on magazines advertising, 4.3 times more than the average brand, and 42.2% on television, 1.6 times more than average. But these media are becoming less effective as their reach continues to decline and the scarcity of their audiences pushes up prices.
Beauty and personal luxury brands have been relatively slow to adopt digital advertising, spending 34.1% of their budgets digitally in 2020, compared to 53.1% for the market as a whole. This is a result of the historic lack of premium digital environments that support the high-quality brand imagery that beauty and personal luxury brands need to convey. It is also due to the difficulty the beauty industry has had adapting to ecommerce, because consumers feel the need to sample and try on beauty products in person before committing to a specific product. According to Euromonitor International, 11.8% of beauty and personal luxury sales were through ecommerce in 2019, compared to 13.2% for the market as a whole.
However, technologies like video-on-demand and connected TV, and social platforms like Instagram and TikTok, are creating new premium environments that showcase beauty and personal luxury brands effectively. Brands have also greatly stepped up investment in their ecommerce offerings since the start of the pandemic as a matter of necessity, as bricks-and-mortar retail sales shrank. Digital channels are therefore becoming more valuable for both brand and performance advertising.
Zenith estimates that the beauty category increased its spending on digital advertising 2.8% in 2020, despite the pandemic. This was twice the 1.4% growth rate of digital advertising across all categories, as beauty and personal luxury brands began to compensate for previous underinvestment. Zenith forecasts average growth of 5.9% a year in digital advertising between 2019 and 2022. Beauty and personal luxury adspend on all other media will decline over this period, by between 1.2% a year for TV and 12.4% a year for magazines.
“Beauty brands were forced to accelerate their ecommerce strategies in 2020, some pioneering the use of virtual and augmented reality to allow consumers to try on and model products online,” said Christian Lee, Global Managing Director, Zenith. “Continued innovation in ecommerce technology to improve the consumer experience will be key to unlocking brand growth for 2021 and beyond.”
France and India to lead beauty and personal luxury adspend growth
Zenith expects France to be the best-performing beauty ad market over the next two years, growing by 13.3% a year on average. That’s a reaction to the depth of its decline in 2020, when beauty brands cut budgets by 32.9% whole. The market will start to recover quickly from this reduced base in 2021, but is still expected to be 13.8% lower in 2022 than it was in 2019, compared to the 3.6% average drop across all eleven markets over this period.
India, by contrast, is forecast to grow as a result of strong consumer demand. Beauty adspend was stable in India in 2020, and is forecast to grow at an average of 7.6% a year as more consumers take up the habit of regularly buying beauty products. Beauty and personal luxury adspend in India is forecast to be 15.2% higher in 2022 than it was in 2019.
Demand will recover more slowly across North America and the rest of Western Europe, leading to annual growth in beauty adspend of 1%-2% a year in Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and the US.
“Growth in beauty and personal luxury advertising will lag behind the market while consumers remain cautious about travelling in public and meeting in person,” said Jonathan Barnard, Head of Forecasting, Zenith. “But by investing in digital technology that embeds ecommerce into the heart of their operations, brands will prime themselves for more rapid growth when demand picks up.”
Beauty and personal luxury is defined as the combination of four sub-categories: cosmetics, fragrances, hair care and skin care.