By Lauren Zumbach
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Interesting look at the impact of social media on the beauty industry. Consumers are discovering new looks online, and to keep up with demand for the next must-have, some beauty companies are taking a page from the fast-fashion playbook and moving quickly.
When reality TV star Kylie Jenner introduced her first cosmetics products to the internet in late 2015, the Kylie Lip Kits, matte liquid lipstick and lip liner combos, sold out in minutes.
Competing brands were paying attention. Companies quickly started promoting their own matte lipsticks as duplicates of the Jenner hues, hoping to win customers desperate to jump on the trend but unable get their hands on the sold-out Jenner products.
How quickly Jenner’s lipstick and look-alikes became a must-have demonstrates the impact of social media on yet another industry. Beauty consumers are discovering new looks online, and to keep up with demand for the next must-have, some beauty companies are taking a page from the fast-fashion playbook and moving quickly.
“We used to deal in trends that lasted five to 10 years,” said Karen Grant, beauty industry analyst at market research firm The NPD Group. “Now, we think it’s a long trend if it lasts 24 months.”
One of cosmetics-maker e.l.f. Beauty’s tactics is a fast-fashion-like approach to testing new items. Most products are first sold only at e.l.f.’s retail shops and online store. If they catch on, measured by sales, reviews and social media feedback, e.l.f. can quickly ramp up production and begin distributing to national retail customers, said Tarang Amin, e.l.f.’s CEO.
“Staying close to the consumer helps us know what trends and new products resonate with her. We believe this also provides us a much higher success rate compared to other brands when we expand distribution,” he said.