Thinkpiece: Four consumer behaviours transforming cosmetics & skincare


The beauty industry is big business. Rapid growth now sees the cosmetic and skincare categories contribute over £17bn to the UK economy each year.

Our latest thinkpiece combines cutting-edge wearable and 360 camera technologies with face-to-face ethnography, to explore the role that these routines play in our day-to-day lives.

Getting to the heart of the beauty routine

A range of wearable and 360 cameras were embedded within a house of three young professionals to observe their cosmetics routines over the course of three weeks.

Supplemented with LifeStream smartphone diaries, accompanied shopping trips, UX journeys and qualitative interviews, the approach enabled us to gain a unique perspective on the role cosmetics play in millennials’ lives.

Four key behaviours

Face value

The complexity of ‘conscious’ consumerism

Consumers are waking up to the impact of their choices. A number of previously niche trends are gaining mainstream attention giving rise to a more conscious consumer.

From the plastic bag charge to Veganuary, we come into contact with a greater range of initiatives that encourage us to make more socially and ethically conscious decisions.

Despite greater concisousness, consumers struggle to navigate the multiplicity of claims made by brands in the category.


Long term ‘skinvestment’

Younger consumers increasingly looking to prevention over cure

Skin care is nothing new, but the age at which consumers seek skin protection is lowering.  From UV protection to pollution defence, consumers have never been more aware of the stresses modern life has on their skin.

Fierce creativity

Beyond self-expression, cosmetics provide a creative platform craved by millennials

Makeup is far more than just being selfie-ready. Increasingly it provides a form of creativity craved by millennials. They’re hacking products and routines – not just to achieve perfect looks, but also to fit their routines into busy lifestyles.


The Rihanna Effect

Digital influencers are affecting the way we look

Digital influencers are changing the way we look, and influence is far broader than it has been before. Consumers are increasingly looking beyond celebrity; identifying beauty bloggers who share the look they aspire to, learning to contour from drag artists, and navigating categories and brands through real consumer reviews.

Want to hear this thinkpiece?

We’d love to take you through our findings.  Please drop us a line.