Episode 13: Lifting the Lid on Beauty Industry Trends with Imogen Matthews

2018-08 Beauty industry trends

Making sense of beauty industry trends can be daunting if you’re an aspiring skincare entrepreneur. How do you interpret the daily flow of opinion on social media?  Isn’t trend forecasting just finger in the wind anyway? On top of this, there is also the lingering worry that by the time you’ve grasped the next big beauty industry trend, consumers will have moved on.

However, as our interviewee in this episode of Green Beauty Conversations explains, market research is an incredibly powerful tool for businesses of any size if they truly listen to what consumers are saying about their needs.

We are excited to lift the lid on interpreting beauty industry trends in this hard-hitting and in-depth podcast with market insider Imogen Matthews. A long-time researcher, journalist and commentator, Imogen set up her own beauty industry research and consultancy business in 1993 after many years working in-house with large cosmetic brands and research firms. Imogen Matthews Associates produces highly-regarded trend reports on various aspects of the premium beauty market.

We tackle two example market niches – anti-ageing and male grooming – that are frequently misunderstood and yet present a range of opportunities to new beauty entrepreneurs. Chatting to Imogen, we realised that there are certainly riches in niches if you know how to empathise with your customers and talk to them rather than just sell.

Even if these two niches are not on your radar, do listen in as Imogen gives us an invaluable overview of some 30 years of the beauty industry and where it’s heading today.

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In this episode, you’ll hear about beauty industry trends in 2018 and issues such as:

  • Why maturer women care far less about the term ‘anti-ageing’ or any of its recent replacements than brands might think;
  • Why traditional beauty industry segments such as ‘male grooming’ or ‘women 50+’ aren’t homogenous groups;
  • What older women really want for their skin, and why wrinkles aren’t their sole focus;
  • Why men have been notoriously difficult to market to and how and why this final frontier in the beauty industry might be overcome;
  • The rise and impact of gender-neutral skincare and how it is upsetting stereotypical consumer profiling and habits.

Imogen gives us plenty of examples of beauty firms building, and also misreading markets. There’s a lot we can learn from their experiences.

Imogen Mathews @prembeauty, premium beauty trend research, on the rise of gender-neutral cosmetics disrupting marketing stereotypes. #beautytrends2018 #formulabotanica #cosmeticsmarket Click To Tweet

Some of the key takeouts from this episode include:

  • When building your cosmetic product range, think first about how your products resolve customers’ skincare issues rather than solely in terms of how they address age or gender-related issues.
  • The male grooming market is growing slowly but is set to rise. It is likely to be driven more by gender-neutral products than those focused on promoting the usual marketing images of masculinity.  Note that for decades retailers have typically considered men’s self care products as being just deodorant and after shave.
  • Women over 50 have considerable financial clout and are living life to the full, perhaps changing careers and also launching businesses in their empty-nester years; but don’t assume 50 year olds have the same needs as 65 year olds. Mature skincare is a nuanced market.
  • Your product story, your brand’s authenticity and your awareness of issues such as sustainability are important to consumers who are far more critical and informed than 30 years ago.

Imogen Matthews shares regular beauty industry trends’ analysis and commentary both on the company website and in her enews. Find out more about Imogen Matthews Associates here:

Thank you for joining us for this episode of the Formula Botanica: Green Beauty Conversations podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please share, subscribe and review on iTunes or Stitcher so that more people can enjoy the show. Don’t forget to follow and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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Gemma Ortega Perez is Formula Botanica’s Business & Relationship Manager. Gemma oversees the day-to-day running of the school and works with our wonderful global student and graduate community.


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