Beauty Care's New Face

Private label beauty sales are on the rise as stores add boutique-style merchandising, in-house expertise, and new products like fragrance libraries. Maureen Donoghue details how retailers are freshening up a category already worth $16 billion.
Maureen Donoghue
December 2018

Retailers, for many years, have eyed cosmetics and perfumes as a tantalizing target for their private label programs. Health and beauty store brands are already worth nearly sixteen billion with a respectable eighteen percent market share. With fragrances expected to grow worldwide to forty-six billion, US supermarkets, drug chains and mass merchandisers want to try to take their share of the pie.


Unlike past years, however, when low price was the main attraction, today’s retailers are using sensory experience to lure shoppers in. They are challenging the idea that perfume or makeup has to be a national brand to be just right for you.


CVS has announced a big change in their beauty aisle. It’s a makeover for everyone involved. The stores get a brand new, boutique-style look called “Beauty I R L” while customers will find consultants to help them pick out what works and how to use it.  Stylists will offer walk-in services like blow outs and braids. There will be a “test and play” hygiene bar, inviting the customer to enjoy themselves. And a “wonder wall” of samples and trial sizes. Alongside the brand names CVS can showcase their already popular “Beauty three sixty” products and their “Makeup Academy” line. Their fragrance line “Essence of Beauty” will also be presented alongside the national brands.

Fragrance is an area that today’s retailers can really explore. Today’s shoppers have abandoned the idea of a signature scent, instead buying different choices to complete their style.  9 out of every 10 people who use fragrance rotate what they want to smell like.  What a person chooses varies day to night, winter to summer, as changeable as their moods.  This is a unique opportunity for private label. In offering a high quality fragrance for a lower price, customers can build a fragrance wardrobe having all the flexibility they want.


Millennials are particularly open to buying fragrance wherever they pick up a scent they like, rather than staying with one particular store. It’s a constantly changing preference so there’s always room to entice a new customer.


Target’s newest in-house fragrance lineup picks right up on this trend. Their “Good Chemistry” line of scents offers the independent Niche fragrance appeal. The lineup is personality-based. Choose from their four categories… are you feeling “Confident and Charming”, “Good and Grounded”, “Vibrant and Playful”, or “Cool and Collected”?  Within those four types there are another forty-eight scents to choose from with names like Wild Child and Rustic Woods.


Moreover, the lower private label price tag makes it less expensive to change your scent to match your mood or maybe your mood by changing your scent. Samples are available to spritz in store and there’s rollerballs and body sprays too.


There is also a nod to clean beauty trends. The label boasts essential oils as well as being vegan and paraben free.


When it comes to Clean, limited ingredients… Trader Joe’s is already established as the go-to for groceries. Now they’re using that same formula to become a destination for beauty products.

And while it’s not exactly perfume.. They are using natural, appealing smells in those same products to wet the beauty appetite. Creams made with coconut and cucumber stand beside “Tea Tree oil shampoo” and a “Lavender body scrub”. Rose water and shea butter are among their most prominent ingredients. They even offer a face sheet mask with honey, chamomile and rose oil. Face masks are hugely popular with teens and tweens and this one has the appeals to parents by having natural ingredients and only costing $1.99.

And Trader Joe’s beauty stays on trend with limited seasonal offerings like the pumpkin spice versions of their body butter. Just like food samples that dot their stores, open full-size bottles of hand creams are at every register. You stand, wait and get to experience their beauty product. It’s a win-win for everyone especially when the customer picks it up the next time they pass through.


Other retailers are also lining up their beauty products as an alternative to National Favorites and once again these are items customers can only get from specific stores.  If you fall in love with the new eye shadow from Belk Beauty, you return to Belk when you need a refill. Seven-Eleven is also jumping into cosmetics with a lineup called “Simply Me Beauty.” Products include everything from false eyelashes to makeup remover, basically anything you might need on the go -with the convenience Seven-Eleven is known for.


Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but increasing sales from beauty care are very attractive to retailers.  


I’m Maureen Donoghue for PLMA Live!

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