How VSCO Girls Are Reshaping The Beauty Industry

On the latest episode of the E-Commerce Retail Briefing podcast:

Is the VSCO girl trend powerful enough to reshape an industry? According to a new study, the beauty industry could be feeling the effects as teens turn away from heavy makeup and toward lighter, more socially-conscious alternatives.

  • According to an eMarketer forecast, U.S. holiday retail sales will climb 3.8% to top $1 trillion in sales this year: the first-ever trillion-dollar holiday season. Last year saw even less growth, at 2.4%. Cyber Monday is expected to be the biggest online shopping day in U.S. history, with a total that could approach or surpass $10. Brick-and-mortar remains dominant, representing over 80% of holiday sales. In-store sales will increase by 2% to $872 billion. E-commerce sales this holiday season will increase over 13% to $135 billion.
  • Facebook is introducing a new payment service across its apps. The social media giant is rolling out Facebook Pay, which is designed to provide a secure and consistent payment experience across Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Users can already make purchases, donations, and personal payments across the apps, but Facebook Pay is meant to streamline in-app purchases and enable unified, cross-app digital payments. The social media giant’s VP of marketplace and commerce said, “Facebook Pay is part of our ongoing work to make commerce more convenient, accessible and secure for people on our apps.”
  • With the voice-activated shopping market expected to continue growing, Walmart is forming a partnership to make voice-activated grocery shopping easier than ever. The retail giant is partnering with Apple to make its voice order grocery shopping service available on Siri. Through a new Siri shortcut for online grocery, customers can ask the voice assistant to start adding items directly to their online Walmart grocery cart after they’ve paired their accounts. Walmart initially rolled out voice-enabled grocery shopping in a partnership with the Google Assistant device earlier this year. The retailer says it will continue to work with the best companies to make shopping even easier for its customers. Walmart’s expansion of voice-activated capabilities comes as its chief rival, Amazon, pushes further into both the grocery and voice technology spaces.

How The VSCO Girl Is Reshaping An Industry

You’ve heard of them, seen them, and probably know one of them. The VSCO Girl, a term borrowed from California-based photo editing app Visual Supply Company, now represents a growing number of teens with disposable income. Their less is more aesthetic, love of Instagram-worthy packaging, and penchant for socially-conscious mid-market brands is reshaping the beauty industry

Investment bank and securities firm, Piper Jaffray, released a semiannual teen survey this fall detailing just how influential the VSCO trend is. Cosmetic spending among teens saw a 21% decrease year over year. Plus, the firm downgraded Estee Lauder stock last week from overweight to neutral. Ulta Beauty also saw its stock fall 29% at the end of August following disappointing second quarter earnings, indicating a softening of makeup sales.

The VSCO girl is somewhat of a parallel to the Marie Kondo effect, as she’s traded in heavy makeup for Carmex lip balm, rosewater facial spray, and single-item, multi-use products from Glossier. A beauty consultant from Sephora said, “I think there is definitely more of a skincare trend going on…It’s more of a focus on moisturizers and cleansers, and teens are moving more toward the cleaner ingredient brands.”

The report indicates that big beauty brand names could have to shift strategies to reach the VSCO demographic as teens are looking to connect with brands on a more diverse, nuanced level.