Beauty is one of key success of stories of the last decade. While other lifestyle sectors have faltered, beauty has continued to show electric growth. Worth an estimated $532bn in 2019, it’s currently expanding at a CAGR of between five to seven per cent, depending on who you listen to. The reasons for this are manifold, but they all centre around the skincare and cosmetics sectors becoming accessible to a broader range of consumers. Whether this is the key role social media has played in disseminating previously specialist knowledge, or the way innovators have been pioneering the use of data for product targeting and personalization, today’s beauty consumer is no longer as easily defined as they were ten years ago. Barriers (or simply a lack of dedicated ranges) that once prevented those of a certain age, race or gender from fully engaging with skin health and appearance have been overcome. But now that beauty brands have expanded their demographic reach, there’s a need for the spaces in which beauty retail, treatment and consultation take places to adjust accordingly. Here are three examples from the last year that address the sector’s diversifying audience.
Men’s beauty ditches the stereotypes
As the market for male beauty products grows, so does the range of acceptable male aesthetics, breaking the pink ceiling of what masculine spaces should look like – this one, for example, feels more Santorini than sandalwood. It’s a temporary New York outpost for Tel Aviv-based Maapilim, a manufacturer of hair, beard and shower products made with natural oils and extracts from the Mediterranean region. Conceived by Israeli studio Craft&Bloom, the store was inspired by ‘the convoluted Grecian rooftop gardens – surrounded by serenity, iconic Mediterranean shapes and local herbs’ and features a bespoke relaxing soundscape along with aural wellness app Endel.
The most telling sign of the changing tides is how, upending the expectations for slickness that many male-oriented spaces often go for, they went for imperfection. ‘That’s because the soft lines and the imperfect shapes of the store’s display create an approachable scene for customers, inviting them into vacation mode as opposed to the pristine clean lines of more modern displays,’ says Craft&Bloom’s Emma Shahar.
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Chinese brands define themselves against local rivals
In Asia, skincare is mostly the domain of Japan and South Korea. But there is a new entrant to the game: China. The country claims the world’s third-largest consumer market for prestige skincare, topped only by Japan and the United States. But while China has traditionally been an importer in this category, things are starting to shift – the Made in China 2.0 wave now increasingly extends to beauty.
Junping is a case in point. The brand offers products that feature traditional natural ingredients backed by intensive R&D. It’s a formula made famously digestible by South Korea’s beauty industry, where cute containers hide an astounding amount of scientific development. And so, Junping’s is sending a different message: this is a brand aimed specifically at consumers who appreciate knowing the precise formulation behind each product.
Enter the Junping Lab shipping container. Conceived by XU Studio, the 28-sq-m pop-up store is made of stainless steel and Corian in pristine white. Its central element is a bar equipped with three magic mirrors, which allows visitors to detect skin issues and receive highly personalized, directly customizable product recommendations. This ties in with a popup strategy targeted at the campuses of science and engineering universities in Shanghai, the turf of research-savvy young women that already have a positive relationship with the store’s clinical aesthetic.
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Natural skincare gets a design-led makeover
Vancouver-based Fig brands itself as the world’s first clean skincare bar, offering innovative facial treatments done in 30 minutes or less. With this it brings together two key beauty market drivers: connivence culture and all-natural ingredients. As such it presented an opportunity for local practice Scott & Scott Architects to define the look and feel of a new beauty category, the fast-but-slow hybrid targeted at cash-rich, time poor-customers.
Inside the early-1900s white-bricked shopfront that Fig inhabits, visitors are enveloped by calming hues of botanical green. The practice’s objective with the space was to use the full volume of the 37-sq-m space with that key colour, and modular fittings. A curved shelving system integrates product display, a wash basin and seating, while a series of perforated-steel half cylinders combine services and indirect lighting. Treatments happen within three pods, which each have green Japanese barber chairs and are shrouded in full-height velvet curtains making for a relaxing, private enclosure. Fig is a far cry from the fluorescent-lit dermatologist’s office, and further communicates the changing face of clinical spaces that we’ve seen demonstrated from Berlin to New York City.
Read more here.
We've compiled a collection of trend roundups that reflect on this year in retail. Find them all here.