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The pandemic has changed consumers’ way of life, and the importance of ethics and the changing role of identity and technology are set to greatly influence the future of the beauty industry according to global market intelligence firm, Mintel. 

Over the next two years: Ethics and sustainability will merge; consumers will want to express a truer self

Ethics and sustainability will merge as an important trend as consumers call for bigger moves on climate change. Mintel Global Consumer research* on the holistic consumer shows that 60% of Singaporeans are prepared to boycott companies that behave unethically while 73% say they try to act in a way that’s not harmful to the environment.

“Consumers are pushing harder and expecting companies to take a stance on social issues like climate change, not just vocalizing it but doing it in a measurable way. It is important for consumers to be able to visualize the roadmap of where companies are going in terms of ethical sustainability and be able to quantify the tangible efforts behind,” said KinShen Chan, Senior Beauty & Personal Care Analyst at Mintel.

“Besides individual companies highlighting efforts on sustainability such as water consumption, responsible sourcing or waste reduction — what is refreshing is the action of a collective as an industry on ethical sustainability. The EcoBeautyScore Consortium, which went live in February 2022 is a good example. It is made up of 36 major cosmetics and beauty companies from around the world, with the aim to develop an industry-wide environmental impact and scoring assessment for cosmetics products. An industry-wide standard on the environmental impact of beauty products will provide greater clarity and confidence to the consumer in the purchase decision journey,” Chan noted. 

The desire for authentic beauty is also on the rise. Consumers continue to push back against the rules of beauty and what ‘being beautiful’ really means, with 57% of Singaporeans who say that being able to express one’s individuality is a top priority for them. This notion is also explored in the Mintel Trend The Body Beautiful, where discussions around unrealistic beauty standards will see brands embrace diversity with authenticity by speaking to consumers as they are, and not how society thinks they should be.

“Consumers want authenticity without perfection. There isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ definition when it comes to beauty. Moving forward, brands need to put emotions and brand community high on the agenda. They can no longer treat diversity and inclusion as a marketing ploy instead, brands need to truly understand consumer barriers and pain points and reflect this in the product design process,” Chan noted.

Over the next five years and beyond: Conversation of beauty possibilities with the Metaverse

As digital trends progress, brands must consider a “virtual first” approach in their products and services. Brands are starting to experiment with the metaverse to create new digital experiences and further engage with the consumer. The beauty engagement often starts and stops at the counter, and the metaverse provides a platform to continue this engagement.

“With 80% of Singaporean consumers valuing experiences over material possessions, brands can leverage digital platforms like the metaverse to create unique products that exist in multiple realities. The first wave has seen the importation of real-world products into virtual spaces.

“Momentum is building around the NFT space which creates opportunities for experimentation within the beauty industry. For instance, instead of a product being the only way to connect with a brand, NFTs enable consumers to buy into the brand whether it’s through digital collectibles, virtual goods, or emerging asset classes — activating new, exciting and unlimited ways to hyper-connect. The market is still nascent, meaning it’s important for brands to be willing to experiment and test out new strategies with each release of digital assets,” concluded Chan.

*1,000 Singaporean  internet users aged 18+

Additional information on beauty trends and interviews with the analyst are available upon request from the Mintel Press Office.