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Focus on ethnic consumer pays off for Estee Lauder Companies

Estee Lauder Companies launched a cultural relevance department nearly five years ago.

Luxury beauty group Estee Lauder says efforts to tap into Britain’s ethnic consumer market has lifted domestic sales around cultural events like Ramadan and Golden Week.

Lesley Crowther, who serves as vice president of consumer engagement and retail at the Estee Lauder Companies (ELC,) said momentum has been building since the launch of a dedicated cultural relevance department in the UK five years ago.

“The reality has been that we’ve been a Caucasian-heavy society, but I think as a business we realised that because of the pace of change that was happening in the diversity of our country…we needed to put a greater spotlight on understanding the different beauty goals and needs of consumers,” she told the Press Association.

ELC, which owns brands like Jo Malone, Bobbi Brown, DKNY, MAC and Tom Ford, has described the UK consumer base is one of the most diverse in the world, with ethnic consumers currently making up 14% of the population but driving 80% of population growth.

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Brands owned by the Estee Lauder Companies include DKNY and Bobbi Brown (ELC/PA)

Catering to a wider demographic has meant recruiting customer-facing beauty advisers who speak a total of 70 different languages between them, and introducing private consultation areas that can make makeup application easier for women donning religious head wear.

“We do an enormous amount of work behind the scenes…on understanding different cultures, in the way they like to be serviced, on the respect that you need to have around certain holidays, and that is hugely important to our business,” she said.

ELC has now been tapping into demand for beauty products around key cultural holidays including Ramadan and China’s Golden Week.

In the two weeks leading up to Ramadan, during which many Middle Eastern consumers shop in the UK before returning home for the holy month, retail sales of ELC’s UK brands surged 74% in Harrods alone.

That was followed by a 25% upturn in Moisture Surge products sales across the business, with a campaign focused on customers concerned about dryer skin during periods of fasting.

During Golden Week, a product like La Mer saw sales rise 44%.

“Around Chinese Golden Week, a brand like La Mer would have specific wrapping, to help celebrate that year in Chinese terms, and we do a lot around new product innovation,” Ms Crowther said.

Meanwhile, attending to the beauty needs of the domestic South Asian community, which ELC highlighted as the largest minority group in the UK, growing at 33% per year, could mean addressing concerns about dark under eye circles and pigmentation and extending it shade ranges for foundations and concealers.

I’m so excited right now so I hope you are here for this #blackgirlmagic situation! Today is the launch of the FUNMI FETTO BEAUTY BOX which I have curated especially for my fellow women of colour in collaboration with @esteelaudercompanies 💃🏿💃🏿💃🏿💃🏿 So what inspired it? Well for many years, I have been in the privileged position of trying and testing the world’s best beauty products in the name of journalism. And so everywhere I go, women of colour are ALWAYS asking me for my beauty recommendations. There is a lack of representation (In magazines, in campaigns, in product ranges etc etc) And while there is progress, I have regular experiences that remind me there is still work to be done. Also despite the plethora of beauty boxes out there, I hadn’t come across one that actually includes this demographic 🙄. So I wanted to do something that in a small way celebrates great brands and products that actually take a range of skin tones and ethnicities into consideration. The @esteelaudercompanies have long been genuine and authentic in their pursuit of inclusivity - long before it became a fashionable buzz word- and so it has been such a pleasure to collaborate with them on this box. 💃🏿💃🏿💃🏿(I’m dancing a lot just in case you hadn’t noticed) So to the contents - @bobbibrownuk Crushed Lip Colour, @esteelauderuk Pure Color Envy Lash Multi Effects, @originsuk GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream, @cliniqueuk Even Better Dark Spot Corrector, @maccosmeticsuk Prep and Prime @darphin Hydra Skin Light, @avedauk Be Curky Curl Enhancer and @cliniqueuk Cheek Pop . Yep. It’s a lot of stuff.The box is £25 (worth £75!) and available to buy on the websites of all the brands featured. Please note it is a LIMITED EDITION so hurry before it sells out!! Link in bio! 💃🏿💃🏿💃🏿(I leave you with more dancing 😘) : : : : : #thebest #ThisIsForUs #ffbeautybox #blackbeauty #beauty #beautyproducts #beautybox #ad #thebeautybox #makeup #skincare #skin #hair #afro #dancing ##blackbeautymatters #limitededition #martinlutherkingday #melaninpoppin #ss18 #gifts #inclusive #inclusion #inclusivity

A post shared by Funmi Fetto (@funmifetto) on

Considerations have also been made for the Black British customer,  which is growing 40 times that of the Caucasian British consumer base, through products like its beauty boxes, with ELC enlisting the help of Vogue’s contributing beauty editor Funmi Fetto.

“Funmi handpicked a number of different products across our business that she knew would resonate anything from a curl enhancer, because obviously taming curls is a big concern for this consumer, as well as under eye brightness and a moisturiser all about balancing skin,” Ms Crowther said.

There is also interest in catering to the tourist population, including Chinese, Indian and South East Asian communities, while ELC keeps an eye on the return of Russian, Brazilian and Nigerian tourists to the UK.

ELC prepares for inbound tourists with monthly flight reports, that helps staff understand “who is coming from where and at what time”.

“It ensures that whenever anybody is coming to our counters that we are appropriately able to service them and understand a lot more about what they’re looking for.”

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