Tapping Into The Rise Of Informed & Ethnically Diverse Skincare Consumers

July 07, 2021

All skin types are not equal and the skincare industry has to evolve to connect with the rising group of informed and ethnically diverse skincare consumers. A February 2020 study found that dermatology, the branch of medicine dealing with the skin is the second least diverse specialty after orthopedic surgery in medicine.

Under Fenty’s Umbrella

Rihanna shook the Beauty industry with the launch of Fenty Beauty, calling for more inclusive color ranges within the beauty industry with its 40 foundation shades. The debut was met with immediate enthusiasm from consumers who were used to being ignored.

Bigger players such as Maybelline have now followed suit with more range for different complexions.  

L’Oréal came out with their commitment towards “Beauty for All” and meeting the needs of every culture. Even Unilever removed “fair” from their popular Fair & Lovely face cream, which they now call Glow & Lovely

Fenty’s popularity is a reminder for brands that there is unmet demand for products that appeal to a variety of races and ethnicities. 

The Multicultural Buying Power

Multicultural consumers are the emerging force in America. The U.S. population is expected to grow to 350 million people in 2026 with more than half of the increase being  Hispanics, followed by Asians. 

South Asians in the U.S. are the most affluent and highly educated ethnicity, which is reshaping and redefining the American Dream. Empowered and culture-driven consumers over-index on a wide range of products and services such as banking, beauty, and automobiles.

As the nation’s multicultural groups that are well informed continue their upward trajectory in both population and buying power, the need for nuanced and culturally acute messaging is at the cornerstone of a successful marketing strategy.

The ethnic audience has always existed. We are suddenly noticing a shift in the power dynamic because of the internet, propelled by population growth and an expanding buying power. Empowered and culture-driven consumers over-index on a wide range of products and services such as banking, beauty, and automobiles.

The good news for brands is that the multicultural selling proposition is beyond the size of the multicultural population. Just as yoga became ubiquitous in every corner of America, lifestyle and consumption behaviors of ethnic groups are influencing mainstream consumers.

Ingredients Over Brands

According to Persistence Market Research, beauty consumers are searching for specific ingredients when browsing beauty and skincare products, rather than brand names. Generations of South Asians have grown up with DIY beauty routines – from Multani mitti (fuller’s earth) to neem and haldi (turmeric). As marketers, it is our job to spot what might be the next big trend.

Ethical ingredients are here to stay and brands that are better equipped to pivot and adapt outshine the traditional retail brands. As consumers seek unified buying experiences – online and offline. More transparency and communication around propositions such as organic, vegan, cruelty-free, and chemical-free could help enhance the consumer experience.

Omnipresent Channels 

While marketing and product teams often live in silos, that’s not how customers are experiencing them. Today’s customers seek personalization at every stage of the purchase journey. With high dependence on digital devices, a high degree of interactivity with the brands they get to buy from is a necessity for consumers.

The customer journey is non-linear and fragmented – it can start with a viral TikTok video on neem, to a video on YouTube to try a DIY neem face pack, and move on to Amazon to find a neem-based face wash.

The Era Of Influencers 

A recent forecast shows that spending on influencer marketing is expected to jump to $15 billion by 2022. Multicultural consumers are the key to the future because of their influence on consumption habits driving a multicultural mainstream. But, who is influencing the shoppers? Influencers.  

Reshaping how marketers and advertisers use influencers to connect with increasingly diverse customers.  Consumers today are highly informed and are paying close attention. A small mistake can jeopardize their trust. 

Influencers are also called upon by various political movements to use their voice. Check out #PullUpOrShutUp Challenge, created by Uoma Beauty founder Sharon Chuter, #PullUpOrShutUp called for companies to expose how many of its employees are Black

Consumers actively seek out influencers who share the same skin tones and trust that they are using the products that they claim.

Some of the most popular South Asian beauty influencers are: 

  • Farah Shukai An Indian-Canadian with over 7 million followers on Instagram and 2.3 million followers on YouTube. 
  • Nabela Noor A Bangladesh-American with over 1.7 million followers on Instagram. 
  • Ami Desai An Indian-American with over 135K followers on Instagram. 

Way Forward 

Due to unprecedented growth in population, buying power, and cultural sustainability, the multicultural marketplace has gone from a niche opportunity to a mainstream imperative. By connecting with the audience through culturally sound messaging backed by multicultural insights with the help of experts at FrontAd, brands can forge a long-term relationship with the most dynamic and fastest-growing segment in the U.S. 

By investing in multicultural consumers today and understanding how they also influence non-multicultural, brand owners can ensure that they will remain competitive and relevant in an increasingly multicultural mainstream.

This shift from celebrity endorsement to regular people is challenging for many longtime players in the beauty industry. Direct-to-consumer brands have disrupted the big retail brands. While faced with a loss of credibility, legacy brands are struggling to play catchup. 

The pursuit of beauty is on a rise with consumers choosing quality over price. The rise of informed and ethnically diverse beauty consumers is looking for personalized products through a multitude of touchpoints fed by multiple sources for discovery and information research.