Did beauty influencers force Gwyneth Paltrow to launch budget Goop?

Did beauty influencers force Gwyneth Paltrow to launch budget Goop?

Goop is a brand which has become synonymous with highly affluent products with huge viral potential, and which has helped Gwyneth Paltrow become recognised as an (at times offbeat) tastemaker in wellness and beauty.

A series of expansions into new sectors has seen her Goop empire grow year on year since it was founded in 2008 as a weekly email newsletter. However, one of her most interesting moves to date (which may initially seem a little dull by Gwyneth’s standards, not a vagina candle in sight) has been a steer into an accessibly-priced 14-piece skincare range, now available in Target and on Amazon in the US - good.clean.goop.

When you consider that Goop is not profitable as a business, the reasons why Goop would make this move may become a little clearer. The bigger question is, will it pay off?

A view on the basics: the changing perception of beauty at an accessible price

Previously, price was a necessary signifier of quality. The more you paid, the better you could expect. Value products were very much about price alone, the basics. Forget the design or packaging; they did the job…just. Times have changed.

The market has become increasingly saturated with products at highly accessible price ranges, which are aesthetically pleasing and provide savvy skincare consumers with ingredients they recognise as being of specific benefit to them. These customers are more informed than ever, thanks to the rise of the influencer. These figures have built their celebrity-like fame on the basis that they are highly engaging, feel accessible and speak to their followers on a level—and brands are following suit.

The likes of The Ordinary and The Inkey List have constructed their businesses around providing consumers with access to active ingredients at an affordable entry price point, a strategy that has proven to be effective.

Subsequently, we are now witnessing a divide among brands concerning the democratisation of beauty. Beauty consumers, guided by influencers, not only distinguish between various components like hyaluronic acids and AHAs but also possess the knowledge of when and where to invest their resources. They are well-versed in beauty hacks and are savvy when it comes to price considerations. In this sense, Gwyneth, as an influencer, has been on a very different trajectory until now.

Reading the room: launching a brand during times of global financial uncertainty

During this cost of living crisis felt by consumers across the globe, we have seen the continuing effects that previous recessions have on spending continue with full force. During such periods, we often see the emergence of both luxury and value brands - an ironic trend in the luxe side - while brands occupying the middle ground tend to face the most challenges. 

If your brand finds itself in this middle space, it makes perfect sense to diversify your product portfolio, taking it higher or lower. 

This not only attracts a potential, broader audience but also provides your existing consumers with a wider array of choices when deciding where to invest their money with your brand. It is interesting to see Goop take the leap from being accessible only to the highly affluent, to a market who is experiencing the effects of this global squeeze.

The demands of the market: the spending power of the most influential young generations

Value-oriented positioning frequently appeals to younger consumers. We’ve all experienced growing up with brands like Avon and private label products, using them for experimentation, which subconsciously develops a nostalgic connection. Besides, brand loyalty in the skincare industry is currently at an all-time low. According to Forbes, only 37% of Gen Z shoppers are deemed to be loyalist.

Brands that can expand their product range to appeal to a fresh demographic with varying spending capacities will hold the power. 

In the past, there existed a conventional belief that a brand should never compromise its value. However, a brand that adapts, actively engages with its customer base, identifies opportunities, and excites new consumers seems more agile and robust in the face of the ever-evolving challenges that many beauty brands encounter in their quest to remain relevant.

Welcoming beauty for all

What I believe will have the greatest effectiveness is an offering of commercial diversification to all consumers, regardless of their financial demographics. 

It’s nothing new and this approach has been highly successful in the fashion industry, with examples like Haute Couture, Ready to Wear, and Diffusion lines that cater to a wide spectrum of consumers, from high-end to mass market.

Beauty for all seems a much better message for 2023. 

It’s been a message that has been beating, quite rightly for diversity inclusion on many levels, and why not financial inclusion too?

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