What’s next in beauty: Predictions for 2020 and the decade ahead

The new year is finally upon us, and along with 2020 we are also welcoming the next decade. So what does the shift look like for the beauty industry and how is the future shaping up for our makeup bags?

Cosmetify Index has looked into trends data, at both brands and products, to reveal those which have risen in popularity throughout 2019 and those that are bound to break the beauty stratosphere in 2020.

For each brand and product, Cosmetify analysed the change in Google Trends data from the past twelve months, compared to the previous twelve months, to see how search interest has evolved.

So what brands should be on your radar for the year ahead and beyond?

And in terms of beauty products gaining traction, these are the additions to keep in mind:

Looking at a larger scale for the next decade, the NPD Group’s beauty predictions are in, and vice president and industry adviser for beauty, Larissa Jensen said she’s not only betting on makeup, but also on a slowdown in natural skincare and an increased focus on sustainability.

Makeup will make a comeback

“Historically, there has been a notable shift between prestige makeup and skincare every four to five years. Based on this, and the slowdown we began to see in makeup in 2017, if history repeats itself we are looking at a rebound in the category sometime around 2021, give or take a year,” said Jensen in her report.

“Looking to growth drivers today as potential indicators of what’s to come, makeup in the future could very well be less about the crazy growth in colour we saw throughout the 2010s, and more about the “canvas” products that help consumers achieve a more natural look.”

Jensen also notes that social media, the catalyst for makeup’s stellar performance throughout most of the last decade, is beginning to change. “As we move into an era of authenticity, it will be important to understand how these changes will impact the makeup category of tomorrow.”

Growth in natural skincare will slow

Natural skincare has grown so much for so long that it has become one of the largest brand types in the prestige skincare market today. “When something becomes that big, growth will inevitably slow. In fact, if we look back over the past three years, 2019 was the first year we saw performance of natural skincare softer than the year before,” said Jensen. 

That said, growth remains strong and consumer interest is still there. “Opportunity exists in both makeup and fragrance where the share of natural remains small. Part of this is driven by the fact that there are so few brands in these categories that are embracing this movement.”

While it is not impacting sales directly today, the trend of natural, but more specifically clean, will eventually reach these categories, even if it takes the next five to 10 years to do so, predicts Jensen.

Sustainability will take centre stage

If Pantone and Dictionary.com are any predictors, the 2020 colour and word of the year – Classic Blue and “existential” – could be indicative of a new era where we focus on sustainability and the role we play in protecting the ocean, the earth, and ourselves. 

“This means clean products will capture the spotlight as consumer expectation fuels companies to create safer formulas for our skin and the environment. While the cost to implement sustainable practices is significant, the cost of not doing so is even more significant in the long term," said Jensen.

"As the consumer continues to drive that conversation, companies will need to give just as much weight to environmental and social impacts as they do to financial ones. Sustainability is not easily attained, but the next 10 years should catapult this initiative into the mainstream across industries, including beauty."

Beauty will begin and end the decade very differently

Moving into the next decade, we should see a return to human connection, self-awareness, and a focus on thinking beyond us.

"Closing out the 2010s, there has been a shift emerging that leads me to believe the 2020s will be more about disconnecting, even as technology continues to keep us tethered to our devices," said Jensen.

"In beauty, it is likely that opportunities will emerge across new categories as we become less defined in the consumer mind, and become more of a piece of the bigger picture. With a greater focus on mental health and wellbeing, the next decade is sure to bring exciting opportunities for all beauty categories."

And what will keep the beauty industry going at the end of the day? The constant that is consumer enthusiasm.

"Even as the industry continues to evolve, and as consumers continue to drive change, beauty will always be about how it makes us feel. Emotion is at the very core of the beauty industry’s identity. This is what has fueled it since the beginning of time, and what will propel it through the 2020s and beyond," said Jensen.

You can find the entire NPD Group's beauty predictions blog post here, and the Cosmetify Index 2020 report here.

Image source: Cosmetify.com / Zara