Tapping into a New Palette of Innovation—Opportunities for Private Brand Beauty

November 3, 2017

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times—it’s not your parents’ private brand landscape anymore. Retailers can no longer be successful simply by filling their shelves with lower-cost “me too” alternatives placed next to national brands. That applies not just to food and beverage—but also to the health and wellness space, including beauty and skin care.

“Wait—did you just say private brand beauty and skin care?” you might ask. That’s right! Thanks to a confluence of consumer trends, including growing interest in health and wellness as well as increasing brand agnosticism, the stage has been set for drug, grocery and mass market retailers to successfully innovate and differentiate in the beauty and skin care space.

One retailer already leading the way is Walgreens Boots Alliance (which operates Walgreens and Duane Reade banners in the United States and Boots banners internationally). The drug chain recently launched two new private brand lines in the beauty space: CYO, a trend-forward makeup line aimed at younger Generation Z consumers; and Your Good Skin, a skin care line designed to promote “preventive” skin health.

According to Daymon category and thought leadership experts, both lines represent innovative forays in the world of drugstore private brand beauty care. For example, “the Your Good Skin line is promoted as being more about having everyday healthy skin, not just going after a specific problem, like anti-aging. This is a new approach for the mass customer,” says Rebecca Young, Daymon’s Senior Manager for Health, Beauty and Baby.

The CYO line also steps out of the usual drugstore beauty mold by using an edgy hashtag—#MixLayerHack—to encourage consumers to make the brand their own, says Daymon’s Senior Director of Thought Leadership Nicole Peranick. “Like the Sephora’s of the world who have helped democratize access to higher end skin care and beauty products, this line is getting into that territory at a lower price point.”

Another area that remains ripe for private brand innovation is clean label beauty and skin care. “Just as consumers have become empowered to take control of their health through food, more are also seeking out beauty and personal care products that are free from lab-made chemicals, heavy metals and other ingredients they believe are potentially harmful,” says Carl Jorgensen, Director of Wellness Thought Leadership for Daymon. “While some natural and organic products already exist in these categories, many are from smaller, niche brands. There’s nothing to any great degree in the private brand space— an opportunity that’s being overlooked.”

Consumers are absolutely looking for clean label, including natural and identifiable ingredients, as well as organics, agrees Young. “And one real benefit that private brand has when it comes to winning and owning this space is that they can be a lot faster with speed to market. If a retailer is behind it, they can launch relatively quickly and capture relevant trends while there’s still a lot of interest,” she says.

That said, retailers can’t simply “launch it and leave it,” warns Jorgensen. “Just as consumer input needs to be part of the development process, retailers have to keep the conversation with consumers going even after the brand and assortment have been launched. If you keep that conversation going outside the store, you’re building both brand awareness and that loyal base of customers who feel like their voices are being heard and responded to. Though many retailers aren’t used to doing this with their private brands, you have to in order to keep up with the rapidly changing retail environment.”

To learn more about opportunities for private brand innovation in the health and beauty space, contact Rebecca Young, Senior Manager – Health, Beauty and Baby, at reyoung@daymon.com.