The Modernization of Makeup: Brands

Changing consumer demographics signal a major change in how celebrities will be involved in the cosmetics industry

For decades, celebrities have played a specific role for makeup and cosmetics brands. A celebrity known for perfect hair would be the face of a shampoo brand. An actress with great lips could be the ambassador for lipstick, and a singer with perfect skin could be in the ads for a skincare line.

Stars would be paid to accentuate their best features in these ads to get consumers to think that if these celebrities used these products, their skin or hair or lips could be made to look like theirs. But this role is changing. These celebrities are now bypassing the brands to create their own cosmetics brands instead. And consumers are taking notice.

As celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Rihanna become the owners of their own makeup brands instead of just endorsers, consumers have shown that they’re very interested in these lines. In 2016, Kylie Jenner’s famed lip kits alone increased the share of voice of celebrity brands compared to traditional brands by about 25%. Similarly, when Rihanna dropped Fenty Beauty in 2017, the celebrity brand share of voice increased by about 35%, and celebrity brands momentarily made up half of the conversation.

When we compare the audience interests of each type of brand, it’s clear: consumers who buy celebrity brands are fans of the celebrity, and consumers who buy traditional brands are fans of the product themselves. It shows that people aren’t buying Kylie’s lip kit only for the product itself, but they’re buying into Kylie.

Those talking about Revlon, L’Oreal and other traditional makeup brands discuss those specific products much more often than those buying celebrity brands.

The audiences for each brand are slightly different as well. Consumers discussing celebrity cosmetics brands are much younger than those discussing traditional makeup brands.

But what does this all mean? While traditional brands certainly aren’t going out of style, it’s important for them to note that celebrity brands are on the rise. Even more importantly, the parent companies for many of these brands are the secret owners of the celebrity brands.

Rihanna isn’t the true owner of Fenty Beauty, LVMH owns it and hires Rihanna to run it and be the creative mind behind it. The brand is her name, her vision, but not just her profits to keep.

Brands can do this with a similar celebrity to create their own lines instead of hiring them to be in their ads. This way, brands can capture both young and old audiences by keeping the older consumers buying their brands and younger consumers buying the celebrity’s brand. The brands can also increase sales at slower times of the year when a celebrity brand release will get consumers to swarm to Sephora to get in on their products, instead of relying on the holiday season for sales.

It’s important for cosmetic companies to keep up with these trends so they can get in on the action instead of finding themselves competing against celebrities with more instant buying power than any marketing team can ever create.

For more consumer insights in the makeup industry, download our Consumer Packaged Goods Report

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