Independent beauty brands rivalling tech for growth, report says

by | Oct 7, 2019

Ahead of their return to London later this month, Indie Beauty Expo has issued a trend report looking at how independent beauty brands are growing more quickly than mainstream businesses in the rapidly evolving beauty market.

Founded in 2015 by aesthetician Jillian Wright and entrepreneur Nader Naeymi-Rad, Indie Beauty Expo supports the growth and success of independent beauty brands and the entrepreneurs behind them.

The report says that while the beauty market is still dominated by giant conglomerates such as Estée Lauder and L’Oréal, it’s independent brands who are showing the fastest growth.

In colour cosmetics for example, “challenger” independent brands are growing four times faster than their legacy competitors, according to Nini Zhang, vice president of luxury, beauty and apparel at Credit Suisse.

Legacy companies and investors are taking notice. In the last decade, they have invested $3 billion in independent beauty brands – and valuations are rising, in some cases rivalling the tech sector.

The median ratio of enterprise value to expected 2019 revenues for beauty industry unicorns—brands valued at $1 billion-plus—stands at 8.8, surpassing valuations of software companies which are standing at a median of 7.9.

This sounds like good news for independent beauty brands, but Elena DiGiovanni, strategy and corporate development professional at IBE parent company Indie Beauty Media Group, sounds a cautious note:

“If it looks like a bubble, if it feels like a bubble… guess what? It is a bubble. The real question is not are we in a beauty bubble? It’s what could cause the beauty bubble to burst, and what happens then?”

The report also highlights shifts in beauty trends, such as the growing importance customers are placing on natural plant-based ingredients, and the primacy of Youtube as a source of beauty information among 18-34-year-olds.

Indie Beauty Expo London runs from 23-24 October 2019.

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