Beauty Means Business

By Kelly Gallagher

Although beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, there is a billion-pound industry helping redefine the term. The beauty industry is no longer just about blush and mascara for women. Between YouTube makeup tutorials and Instagram ads, new products are emerging every year to help keep up with the demand for new make-up trends, skin routines, and hair innovations. 

But just how profitable can one’s appearance be? According to new estimations by Zion Market Research, the beauty market will be valued at a staggering £661 billion worldwide by 2024. Exciting independent brands are leading the way in growth. While some retailers on the UK high streets might be on the decline, beauty sales are in the green, according to a survey by Mintel, commissioned by CEW. They’ve found specialist retailers such as Superdrug and Boots are seeing a growth of 9% (around £3.7B in profits) and departments stores soaring to an 18% growth (around £2B in profits).

Changing styles is nothing new to retailers. In fact, it’s what their aim is. But while colours and patterns evolve and change, a shirt will always be a shirt. That’s where beauty is making its mark. Foundation and blush has evolved to an 8-step contour process consisting of 12 different products in an attempt to keep up with filtered technology so as to always look camera-ready. With those 12 new products used on your face comes about 37 different brand options culminating in hundreds, if not thousands, of choices and combinations to get your base layer on your face. And it’s not just makeup. Soaps, shampoos, conditioners, styling tools, face creams, neck creams, body creams, all used in conjunction with one another to get that just right look make the consumer feel their very best. 

Retail isn’t the only profitable channel for the beauty industry. E-tail, or e-commerce, has seen a huge-boom when it extends to various beauty products. Subscription boxes with samples sizes in skin care, make-up and hair have become a staple in many people’s routine. The chance to try various products at a fraction of the full price is not only economical for consumers, it’s fun too. The Royal Mail Group predicts subscription boxes in the UK alone are estimated to hit a value of £1 billion by 2022, with 27% of consumers currently signed up to a service. The model is perfect for the experimental or indecisive shopper who still likes to try new things. 

And trying new things has been a key driver in making the beauty industry thrive. With the help of social media notoriety, Kylie Jenner has formed a billion-dollar empire by constantly trying new styles and promoting change in her everyday beauty routine. Make-up has become a staple in people’s expression of their own individuality.  Hair colour and style can change daily with online tutorials and new colours from boxes. And the challenge of finding the fountain of youth for skin is a task that seems to be never-ending with unimaginable wealth acting as the incentive for the researchers. 

Ultimately, not only is the Beauty Industry profitable, it looks like there’s no sign of slowing it down either. After all, even if you hate make-up, never care what your hair looks like, and enjoy your skin cream-free, everyone still needs to wash their hair or at the very least, throw in some dry shampoo…