Lauren Goodsitt
Lauren is a Global Beauty & Personal Care Analyst at Mintel, using research to help develop innovative product concepts, understanding the beauty landscape and to apply relevant industry trends.

Like so many other industries, 2020 has changed the landscape, especially for retailers. Brands can learn from beauty retailers’ 2020 holiday ad campaigns to shape 2021 gifting occasions. Here, we look at what campaigns led the US beauty gifting marketing this past holiday season and what brands should continue to do.

Emphasize value in an easy to digest, hassle-free ad format

Sephora’s top spend campaign emphasized their best-valued gift sets. The beauty retailer even highlighted ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ options through their partnership with Klarna.

Lure consumers to make simple, one-click purchases while skimming social media

Nordstrom emphasized their gift sets exclusively via paid Facebook ads. By promoting their sets on Facebook, they met consumers where they were already spending time.

Source: Pathmatics [11/01/2020-12/20/2020], as of 12/27/2020

Highlight exclusivity through the promotion of limited-edition gift sets

Nordstrom also highlighted limited-edition Dyson gift sets via desktop display ads. The retailer touted limited-edition gift sets utilizing this desktop display ad, featured primarily on Yahoo and

Source: Pathmatics [11/01/2020-12/20/2020], as of 12/27/2020

Use “under” cost propositions to appeal to budget-friendly shoppers

Ulta emphasized value with affordable holiday gift options. By keeping gifts under $25, Ulta positions itself as the cost-effective beauty retailer.

Keep a consistent theme while speaking to an array of beauty buyers

Target executed the same short video format to speak to different types of beauty buyers.

Offer a range of gifts from prestige to value to fulfill all gifting needs in one place

Macy’s targeted Facebook users with carousel posts, ranging from luxurious gifts such as Chanel to value-based gift sets from Clinqiue.

Source: Source: Pathmatics [11/01/2020-12/20/2020], as of 12/27/2020

What we think

COVID-19 will continue to impact gifting occasions and ad campaigns well into 2021. Brands that offer a range of gifts at various price points and those that focus on self-care and/or speak to clean beauty shoppers will prevail. Advertising placement and medium will continue to evolve with a heavier-than-ever focus on engaging video content. As time spent in front of screens stays high, brands will be forced to find creative ways to draw consumers to their sites. Social media and video will play an essential role in beauty marketing.

Beauty brands looking to increase their visibility in 2021 will be forced to expand their lines of communication, to ‘meet’ consumers where they are spending time and to appeal to short attention spans and budget-minded shoppers. By looking back, beauty brands can pivot their strategies to maximize their gifting reach.