Why is it more and more difficult for beauty brands to be "new"?


Why is it more and more difficult for beauty brands to be "new"?

Source: bof

The beauty industry has always relied on a steady stream of products to attract consumers. However, the epidemic is causing the supply chain and product testing to lag, which makes it more difficult for them to launch new products.

New york, USA-The "latest products" area on the shelves in the beauty shop may soon be empty.

Beauty brands and retailers have been relying on a steady stream of products to attract consumers to shop in stores and e-commerce platforms. However, many so-called "new products" were actually put into production before the epidemic. Experts believe that once these products are exhausted, the negative impact of the epidemic will be highlighted, and every link in the supply chain of the beauty industry will have different chaotic problems such as shortage of key raw materials, insufficient packaging and even blocked research and development process.

Therefore, although major brands may be eager to launch new products suitable for the epidemic situation, such as moisturizing cream for "mask skin" and skin care products that can soothe the face or reduce blue light damage, it is not easy to ensure that the supply chain can keep up. Many companies are focusing on maintaining the inventory of existing products.

"From the perspective of product development and release, the growth momentum of beauty cosmetics has definitely weakened compared with the past few years," said Daniel Granatell, managing director of Grant Industries, which develops and produces personal care products.Most brands are still producing core or popular products, and their focus is on continuing existing products rather than developing new products or innovating growth models.. "

Many beauty companies have postponed the launch of new products until 2021, which means that the most eye-catching new product launch will miss the key year-end shopping season. Jessica Richards, founder of Shen Beauty, a retailer focusing on emerging luxury brands, said that most of the press conferences she had hoped to hold had been cancelled.

During the epidemic, brands that want to introduce new products to consumers have to be creative. Researchers are looking for new ways to use raw materials from traditional formulas, such as adding a new fragrance full of "tropical flavor" to the existing shower gel series to help realize the creativity of new products. It is also one of the ways to introduce "new" products without purchasing new raw materials, updating product formulas or expanding products in existing series.

Other companies are changing the way they produce and package their products. Retrouvé, a skin care brand, chose to break away from convention. When Dermal Defense hand cream was launched, the cumbersome outer packaging was cancelled and the inner packaging was streamlined. "My new slogan is,’ Get things done,’" said Jami Morse Heidegger, co-founder of the brand.

Problems in the supply chain

Forced isolation and consumer demand for sterilization products have had an unparalleled impact on the beauty supply chain. Take packaging containers as an example: Charlene Valledor, chairman and product development director of SOS Beauty, a beauty brand incubation company, said that when all retailers are rushing to put hand sanitizer into production, there will be a shortage of containers such as pressing pumps and bottles for other products.

The epidemic also affected the growth and cultivation of many raw materials.

The COVID-19 outbreak this spring disrupted the cultivation of many special raw materials for high-performance beauty products., "said Jared Reynolds, a beauty chemist who is also the founder of Zenagen and Actiiv, the anti-hair loss brands. He explained that this has had a domino effect on companies that now find themselves forced to strive for a stable supply chain, especially those suppliers from China and Europe, who are facing a longer delivery cycle due to travel restrictions and related import and export agreements.

For example, some of Zenagen’s products use a green tea extract from Asia. "Because the supplier was forced to stop production, it could not continue production. When the factory resumed processing and manufacturing, its production cycle was tripled, "Reynolds said.

Other links in the manufacturing industry have also been affected. Earlier this year, Joanna Vargas had trouble purchasing accessories for her face massager under the skin care brand of the same name. She had to postpone the product release for three months to avoid looking for a new supplier.

"Relationships with manufacturers, suppliers and partners are very important to us," she said. "We don’t want to turn to new business partners just to speed up profits for a month or two."

Try to get through it

Big brands have certain advantages in today’s supply chain shortage. They have a better ability to pay higher raw material prices, and they can jump to the forefront of manufacturers’ cooperation teams by placing a large number of orders.

In addition, they usually have more opportunities for cooperation. Christine Hall, vice president of R&D department of Estée lauder, said that Aveda, a subsidiary of the group, has arranged a new product release plan for the next 12 months, which also gives the brand more room for manoeuvre. She said, "We are also striving for more time to finish the work", so that Aveda can ensure the orderly development of new products.

But small brands are also more flexible to some extent. When Seen, a hair care brand, couldn’t get enough press pumps for its shampoo and conditioner, it temporarily decided to switch to a different color press pump. A larger company may not be able to make this change so soon.

Brands that have completed their purchases at home have also gained the upper hand. Bradley Ryan, founder of men’s beauty brand Undercover Man, attributed his recent success to the use of pomegranate oil and beeswax purchased locally.

Credo also doesn’t think its new product launch activities will decrease in the next few months. This is partly because this retailer only sells "clean" and sustainable beauty brands, which Annie Jackson, its founder and chief operating officer, calls "flexible" because these brands don’t rely on fancy packaging design, and they "tend to purchase in China, without considering long-term transportation delivery and other constraints from the epidemic".

The number of tests is reduced.

Product testing is another obstacle that needs to be overcome. Products must meet the safety standards before they are officially listed. For example, the slogan "90% of product users think their fine lines have decreased" requires clinical trials, but the efficiency of these tests has slowed down due to the outbreak of the epidemic.

This means that brands will have to wait longer to publicize the benefits of their new products, which is particularly difficult for the skin care industry.Because many brands take the commitment to quality innovation as their key selling point.

"Most third-party testing institutions have been closed, and the testing institutions that are still operating in the United States need to queue up for a long time to make an appointment," said Tamerri Ater, product development director of Versed Skin Care. "We have found a spare testing institution and tried our best to shorten the testing cycle accordingly."

The above problems also caused Ron Robinson, a cosmetics chemist and founder of BeautyStat, to feel "frustrated" when he launched a new product in early June and failed to conduct clinical trials to prove its efficacy.

"Before the release of the product, we have completed the safety test and internal performance test, so we know that the product is safe and effective ….. but we also hope to be verified by a third party," said Robinson, who completed a four-week test for 31 subjects at the end of July, and wrote in the information description of the product: "90% of crow’s feet, fine lines and wrinkles seem to have improved."

A turning point is coming.

Experts believe that with the epidemic under control, most of these problems can be solved. The sales boom of some products may also stimulate investment in resources needed to accelerate supply chain development.

Dan Langer, chairman of the hair care brand R+Co, said: "People’s interest in health, personal care and sustainability is rising again, and I think we will see real innovation in this industry next year."

Vargas predicts that the slowdown in R&D business will eventually recover, and before that, the whole industry can barely survive. "Now is not the time to introduce new products on a large scale for marketing," she said. "I think products with good quality, high efficiency and simple use will eventually stand out."


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