3 Min Read |

Let’s be honest, the global beauty market is still dominated by major names but beauty industry disruption and the presence of smaller brands is growing at an exponential rate. It’s true, while L’Oréal, Unilever and Estée Lauder continue to prosper, many indie brands or ‘challenger brands’ are fast emerging as serious competition in this multi-billion dollar industry.

But what does this mean exactly and why are these smaller brands suddenly so popular?

Simply, it means that beauty industry disruption is not just a trend but rather a significant tidal shift which is now demanding the attention of some of the biggest names in beauty.

Why Beauty Industry Disruption is Gaining Momentum

Beauty industry disruption refers to smaller beauty companies with limited resources which successfully challenge major brands in the same market. As a rule, these smaller brands use meaningful stories and smart marketing tactics to gain traction.

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More specifically, the immense growth of these smaller names has required large legacy brands to re-think their approach and adapt to the changing needs of the average consumer. In fact, recent studies show that consumers are more trusting of people than brands and for this reason, they tend to gravitate toward smaller ‘digital-born’ companies with meaningful backstories. In other words, it would appear that these customer value authenticity and trust just as much as the actual beauty product.

And that’s just part of the ‘story’….

The Rising Importance of Authenticity & Digital Marketing

Conscious consumerism is now a very real factor in recent times and consumers are increasingly interested in natural products, organic ingredients and authentic brands. It also makes perfect sense when you think about it, for these stories are often the only way to distinguish a brand in a crowded market. After all, the average person is exposed to more than 10,000 brand messages every day, so how can they possibly decide which one to choose?

In short, smart marketing has enabled these indie brands to establish a foothold in the beauty industry.

That’s not to say the major brands are in trouble but rather to explain why many of these big names are investing in so many startups and digital-born brands. While traditional products remain relevant, the rise of e-commerce has encouraged brands to shift their focus to ‘insta-marketing’, digital content, and social influencers. In this sense, major names can acquire smaller brands to harness their power and leverage their position in the global market.

Beauty Industry Disruption: Reminding Major Brands to Be More Meaningful

Although every area of the industry is impacted by beauty industry disruption, the colour-cosmetics segment is a good example of this change. The visual nature of this category makes colour-cosmetics especially popular with beauty vloggers with the likes of make-up tutorials generating a significant amount of traction online.

For example, in spite of the difference in scale, Charlotte Tilbury has more than ten times the following of L’Oréal Paris UK & Ireland on YouTube, while Glossier is gathering a huge amount of steam in the United States. For many customers, Glossier is a very attractive brand but at the same time, they also have an admirable reputation for creating beauty products on the back of customer feedback.

The rise of beauty industry disruption has prompted the biggest names to change their approach to the market. While many have taken to acquiring these smaller brands or startups, just as many have shifted their attention to influencer and digital marketing.  

Either way, beauty industry disruption is not just a trend and more of a reminder to major brands that creating a meaningful connection with customers is just as important as the actual product.