The F&F Horizon: Mintel Predicts 2009 Consumer and Beauty Trends

As part of our ongoing series* of expert insights into the future of the flavor and fragrance industry, Mintel shares its analysts' thoughts on the future of the art and science of flavor creation. Share your feedback and thoughts here.

Around the world, people have been shaken into uncertainty by the economic crisis. Yet, looking ahead to 2009, Mintel sees five key changes to consumer behavior and explains how businesses can translate these into profits. In addition, the company’s analysts expect that the beauty industry will undergo a year of consolidation. Meanwhile, they have identified four beauty trends that will capture imaginations.

You are in Control
Even as a recession hits, consumers will seek out products and services that give them exactly what they want, when they want it, especially as their budgets tighten. And the Internet will be the key that will give people the power to demand more, while also allowing them to influence others through user reviews and feedback.

What it means for businesses: Manufacturers will respond with products that suit people’s specific needs and lifestyles. Baby boomers will be of particular interest to businesses, with companies moving beyond traditional "old age" products and services to ones that embrace the active, healthy lifestyles of many older consumers.

Simplify and Purify
From understandable ingredients to clear company practices, consumers will want complete transparency when it comes to the products they buy. Old-fashioned skills such as cooking at home, sewing and gardening will become increasingly popular as they will help people stretch their budgets further.

What it means for businesses: “Fresh,” “clean” and “pure” will become essential values as manufacturers focus on clear ingredient labels and product positioning. Additionally, companies will create better products for dining, relaxing and entertaining at home.

Rebuilding Trust
In the coming year, people will want to know all about the products they buy, from where they were sourced to how they were manufactured. Because of this, people will cling to the long-standing, nostalgic brands they know and love, looking for products with a real sense of familiarity.

What it means for businesses: Manufacturers will need to back up their words with actions and conduct business in a more open, honest way. (Read: clean labels and country of origin disclosures.) Also, long-standing brands will move into new markets to exploit their position as trustworthy companies.

Trading Down (and a Little Up Too)
Shoppers will mostly trade down to budget-friendly solutions to save money. But occasionally, they will also need to indulge in small, affordable luxuries.

What it means for businesses: Many companies will start to focus on value brands, but there will still be room for products that bring a little luxury to the everyday. Beyond this, many companies will position their products as a more affordable alternative to going out.

Playfulness, Lightening the Mood
In tougher times, people not only crave life’s little luxuries, they also need to enjoy themselves. As such, small playful distractions such as neon makeup, fun-to-eat food or interactive stores like Apple will become increasingly popular.

What it means for businesses: Companies will focus on products and experiences that are lighthearted, and those that offer real entertainment will have a significant competitive advantage. From food and beauty to household cleaners, the market will see a widening range of products that soothe, energize or simply lift the spirits.

Dovetailing with these consumer trends, Mintel has identified several phenomena that will shape the beauty industry in 2009 and beyond.

Austerity Chic
After an era of indulging our every beauty whim, austerity chic will see us “looking good for less.” Consumers will focus only on those products they really need and expect products to last longer, using them more sparingly and finishing each product before choosing a replacement. Taking this one step further, the most adventurous consumers may even turn to homemade beauty products.

Turbo Beauty
Mintel expects a pendulum shift towards science-based products that actually do what they say they will. Industries will see even more patents, advanced technology and clinical testing come into play as companies attempt to convince people that their claims are true. There will be continued development in products that are a less expensive alternative to surgery, as well as advancements in stem cell research, research into cellular longevity, new peptides and alternatives to parabens. An increasing number of established pharmaceutical brands may also move into the beauty arena.

Extreme Ethical
Extreme ethical will set in with more fair trade ingredients, eco-friendly packaging, charitable initiatives and attention focused on sustainable production. The market may even see companies attempt to reduce the “water footprint” of their products, not just the carbon footprint. What is more, the move towards austerity chic is also in line with a more environmentally friendly approach to beauty, as it encourages people to waste less.

Beauty Foods (Another Helping)
Next year, the market will see food and beauty become even more intertwined. Mintel expects good-for-you food ingredients, such as probiotics and functional flavors, to increasingly show up in our cosmetics and skin care products. The familiarity of these ingredients will go a long way toward convincing consumers that these beauty products can enhance their appearance, just as they have enhanced their health. People will also choose more on-the-go formats such as supplements, snacks and drinks designed to help them look good and improve their beauty regimens.

Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) tracks new product launches, trends and innovations internationally. For more information, click here or call 1-312-932-0600.

*Perfumer & Flavorist magazine, January 2009, page 45; future editions: P&Fnow, January 21 and January 28.

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