Does the post-COVID effect still affect India’s beauty industry? Statista reports that India ranks fourth in revenue generation from the beauty and personal care market in 2021, just behind the US, China, and Japan. As per the report, the Indian beauty and personal care market is expected to grow by 3.86% annually and by 143% in volume. Online sales are also expected to grow by 18.2% in the next few years. The growth is impressive, especially during a time when most companies are experiencing downturns or feeling the pinch of a downturn. It should be noted that the beauty industry in India dates back to ancient times when women believed that regular kitchen ingredients had healing and beauty properties.It is evident that despite the growth of the beauty industry, there are many challenges and problems that plague the industry in 2023, as well as solutions that can offer relief.
The era of YouTubers and Influencers
With the advent of social media, brands are increasingly promoting themselves through the use of social media influencers or bloggers to promote their brands. There is a lack of specific insight regarding the beauty industry through these very promotions. These self-made social media celebrities are collaborating with cosmetic brands to use their makeup and styling skills to promote their products. As a matter of fact, their thoughts and opinions remain very pursuasive yet very misleding too. As a result of the collaboration between brands and influencers, there needs to be more transparency and credibility, which will allow consumers to gain more trust in the brand.
Brands need to build awareness around products through storytelling, right ways to use the product, skin patch tests, dos and donts, and organic reviews rather than paid collaborations that can be misleading most of the time. Marketers and communications professionals must look for ways to leverage these new influencers to change the dialogue about brands in the digital space by ways of leveraging these new influencers. By doing so, stakeholders in the beauty industry would be able to protect existing and potential consumers from being misled by inaccurate information.
The perception of sustainability and the reality of sustainability
There are multiple ways in which the cosmetics industry contributes to pollution in the environment. A few of the problems that should be addressed include pollution of water that threatens marine life, carbon emissions that cause air pollution, and deforestation.In the latest craze of sparkly things, glitter is something that has become something we all have developed a toxic obsession with, such as a glitter sunscreen for example. In fact, cosmetic glitters are actually microplastics that, according to scientists, can easily enter the environment without us even being aware that they are doing so.
A brand needs to look for alternative options, such as the creation of ‘green’ glitters that are biodegradable, and also products that are made of resources that are recyclable, for example, plant-based plastics and natural cork. Furthermore, there is also the issue of the use of chemicals in beauty products, which should also be abolished as well as the use of cosmetics that contain chemicals.
However, in light of a growing emphasis on green beauty and vegan beauty, as well as consumers becoming more aware of green beauty measures, brands are shifting their focus to green beauty measures. There is no doubt that this will ensure environmental practices in the beauty and wellness industry, resulting in a higher level of trust ability and credibility with consumers. The reason for this is that consumers are becoming more and more aware of harmful chemicals found in their skin care products, such as parabens, sulfates, etc. However, the sad truth is that the concept of sustainability is being heavily hyped and misused as well, which is a sad state of affairs. Rather than just giving lip service to sustainable practices or making tall claims, brands should focus on implementing them on a real-world level rather than just talking about them.
Offline v/s Online Marketing
As a result of the online shopping trend post-Covid, the beauty industry has been able to survive despite the grave impact it has had on the offline market. Even though the challenges of selling beauty products offline still exist for many, especially those who are not able to get their hands on them online or may not possess much knowledge of digital technology, it still remains a challenge for many. It has also led to the emergence of price differences, discounts and rates that are offered by different beauty brands under marketing and promotional initiatives. Furthermore, there are also many unofficial beauty products manufacturers who are able to sell their products online with ease, and there is also the possibility of duplication of products that needs to be checked as well. It is imperative for certified brands in such a situation to be more vocal and to reach out directly to their clients and to stay in touch with them. As well as this, they should also be more vigilant and keep an eye on so-called “dark” brands and report on them more frequently. In order to educate their clients about the importance of identifying the correct or incorrect product, they can run consumer awareness campaigns as part of their effort to raise their clients’ awareness.
Wrong promises and false claims
High contrast photographs, photoshopped images, and images with filters are very misleading for consumers, and many come with false expectations of their transformations. It is common for consumers to believe false claims made by brands that lack credibility or that provide unprofessional salon services. This raises a question mark on brands that are actually genuine. Buyers have been confused by this mode of product promotion. Similarly, social media and magazines portray unrealistic images of beauty to promote a specific brand. Consumers need to be given realistic goals for achieving beauty by beauty brands through transparency and communication. A lot of issues are also caused by unrealistic beauty standards, including low self-esteem, eating disorders, and stress. The beauty and wellness industry is doing its best to promote the concept of natural beauty, embracing blemishes and scars in natural skin. The beauty industry needs to foster a safe environment for consumers to grow up in as a solution to this problem.
Today’s consumers are more informed and knowledgeable than ever before, thanks to Instagram, YouTube, and social media. However, there is a downside to this as they often come with half-baked information, so convincing them with the right method of beauty treatments, services, or product benefits is difficult. Since consumers come with an abundance of questions, doubts, and information, they are too picky and choosy to be satisfied.
Several homegrown brands offer customised and personalised services considering the concerns and problems of consumers. For most brands, however, offering personalised products based on consumer needs is still a long way off. A growing number of homegrown beauty brands claim their products are cruelty-free and green, they are offering even cruelty-free makeup and cosmetics, and they are taking sustainability to a whole new level, but they still remain part of an unorganised industry, which poses a major challenge to the beauty industry. A sector within which is unorganized poses acute challenges to the beauty and wellness sector even in 2023.
Several homegrown brands promote century-old beauty rituals, but their claims and credibility should be checked. Homegrown brands are also growing in very remote places, which is a positive sign for homegrown start-ups, but they must be incorporated into the organized sector. In light of customers becoming more discerning about treatments, opting for organic and green products and treatments, customised foundation colours, cosmetics suitable for different age groups, organic hair colours, etc, the beauty industry needs to undergo major changes. While this gives brands scope for improvement, it is also challenging for most brands to adopt these practices and please every client. Brands must understand consumer demands and provide them with customised, cruelty-free solutions on a real-world level.
Salon v/s Home service
Every household has adopted the DIY beauty and at-home salon concept. Even though this may seem easy and comfortable option but home services often result in poor outcome and incorrect commitments since you are unsure about the level of expertise of the service provider. Moreover, most of them are not paying taxes, especially freelancers. This also results in rate variation. This brings a bad name to the sector and it needs to be addressed.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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