•News & Opinion from the Old World
CVS Beauty 360 is changing the pace of prestige marketing.
dered whether the likes of CVS and Walgreens would
decide to participate. And I asked how long it would be
before one of the major international brand manufacturers finally grasped the nettle and invested in QVC?
Scorecard: Watsons did not make a move in the U.S., but
I think I was probably just premature in terms of timing,
rather than plain wrong (see 2009 prediction). As a
European, I did, however, fail to foresee the highly significant move of North American drug chains into prestige,
whether it was CVS with Beauty 360 or Walgreens’
Beauty or Shoppers Drug Mart’s Murale. Clearly, these
represented a more logical, domestic option, first, before
plunging into Europe. In terms of QVC, Estée Lauder
stepped up with Clinique & Bobbi Brown, as did L’Oréal
with YSL. Clarins opted for HSN along with P&G’s
Prestige Boss & Hugo Boss.
2009 prediction: I still believe Watsons has its eye on the
U.S., and is likely to make a move in 2009. I think that the
news about CVS and Walgreens testing what we Europeans
might call perfumery is very strategic and should only spur
Watsons to greater urgency. Indeed, it has the potential to
change the whole pace of prestige marketing in the U.S. I
further believe that with chain pharmacy about to be permitted in Europe, the combination of a major U.S. drug
chain offering a prestige format as well, could potentially be
a very potent combination in Europe at some time in the
future. Meanwhile in the short term, with the economic
storm raging, retailers on both sides of the Atlantic will
continue to get nastier with their suppliers, extending payment terms and reducing shelf tenure for Division No. 2
brands in favor of private label.
2008: I said to watch for one of the big players doing a
major number in spa. I speculated about P&G’s Olay as
well as J&J’s post-Pfizer portfolio of skin care brands.
Scorecard: Wrong! Although rumors abounded of large
manufacturers investigating the spa scene all around the
world, nothing major happened—at least, above the surface, anyway. Instead, Olay started testing a new $40 a pop,
“professional” line in bright red packaging. Nothing big surfaced from J&J's now widespread skincare portfolio.
2009 prediction: Mass skincare will become more technical, with some new players e.g. Coty’s new Home Skin Lab
start-up. Tight consumer purse strings will inhibit major
growth in the spa sector, although Unilever will probably
expand their test of Dove Day Spas. Look out for further
testing of home electrical devices which are designed to
work with skincare products, e.g. Philips recent JV with
Reliant Technologies, developer of the Fraxel laser systems.
2008: I thought P&G would come out of their professional
tent and take the fight to world leader L'Oreal in the
salon market. Unilever would remain under pressure in
retail hair care Western markets, not least because of its
decision not to compete in the profitable professional
channel, from whence competitors had been deriving
their war chests. And specifically, Unilever's Axe was
failing to get into the growing male hair care sector.
Scorecard: Still no major initiative from P&G in the
professional channel, above the surface anyway, which is
some thing that has surprised us. But Unilever has
indeed remained under pressure in Western hair markets, Sunsilk having had to paddle very hard to stand
still in the U.S. and elsewhere. Axe did finally announce
the launch of some trendy new hair SKUs for launch in
2009…better late than never. Meanwhile Gillette
launched its own new male hair care range.
2009 prediction: Something major to come from P&G in
the professional arena – surely? Unilever to continue to
struggle in hair care— maybe even a dalliance with professional at last? But Axe’s new hair offering in the U.S.
will be a winner, and pave the way for a rollout in
Europe and elsewhere. Beiersdorf will rollout its new,
revamped Nivea For Men Recharge hair range across
Is Axe hair care going to be a winner?
Europe, and may well take a special interest in the U.S.
But like the politicians say—of course we don't really
know what's going to happen, but trust us, we’re decent,
sincere, nice people, after all…