Term Paper: Influence of People of Color on the Beauty Industry

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Beauty

INFLUENCE OF ETHNIC CLIENTS ON BEAUTY INDUSTRY

Beauty is not what is used to be and neither is the beauty industry. If fair-skinned and blue-eyed woman was anyone's idea of beauty few decades ago, they are in for a shock since definition of beauty has taken a 360 degree turn to shape itself according to the demands and trends of the new consumer. This new consumer is a not a white skinned blonde, instead he/she can have any skin color and come from any ethnic background and still command the same respect and importance in the market as any fair-skinned consumer. With ethnic consumers spending more in the market and with many of them becoming highly influential in media and fashion industry, it is high time beauty industry changed to cater to the demands of all the consumers and not just the majority.

With collective purchasing power greater than that of the majority, ethnic consumers are becoming increasing influential and beauty and fashion experts have not failed to take note of this change. They are spending more on developing products meant for ethnic consumers and are also developing equally specific marketing strategies. Ethnic women in powerful positions such as film industry have played a huge role in changing the face of beauty in the country. With the definition of beauty changing, the beauty industry itself underwent major transformation. Multicultural stars such as Jennifer Lopez, Salma Hayek, Jessica Alba and Penelope Cruz have sent a clear message to the beauty industry- Not all American consumers are white skinned blondes. Now beauty is as diverse as the social fabric of America itself. The explosive growth in social mobility of minorities has changed the markets and marketing strategies with beauty product manufacturers vying for the attention of their new multicultural consumers.

In 2003, California-based Longs Drugs launched a Hispanic vendor program designed to target its rapidly growing Hispanic consumer base. The program included a comprehensive Hispanic advertising and marketing plan tied into Hispanic television stations, as well as involvement Rile in health fairs and other events sponsored by the Hispanic community." (Drug store News, 2004)

While some argue that consumers do not need ethnic specific products, the reports indicate otherwise. It is shown in some recent reports that consumer spending on ethnic specific products is increasing steadily. "Last year, sales to ethnic consumers amounted to U.S.$7.5 billion, of which a fifth, or U.S.$1.5 billion, represented ethnic-specific health and beauty products, according to a report entitled 'U.S. Market for Ethnic Cosmetics, Hair Care, and Beauty Products', published by market researchers Packaged Facts." ("Consumer spend," 2004)

Ethnic consumer had not always been powerful. There was once a time, not so long ago, that America was exporting its idea of what beauty was supposed to be to every corner of the world. Big players in the beauty industry worked on the assumption that women around the globe and from all kinds of ethnic backgrounds would respond to beauty products in similar fashion. They felt that all women were driven by same motivations and ideals and thus one idea of beauty could work for all. When entering the export market in 1950s, Avon insisted on selling its products to foreign markets with little or no consideration for the tastes and preferences of other ethnic groups as one executive would observe: "We usually chose the products with the best sales history in the U.S." [1] One idea of beauty could work on all consumers was a myth that was soon shattered. Avon including other players was in for a shock when they realized that differences in tastes and preferences that were grounded in ethnic-specific concepts were not merely consumer preferences. Export of beauty products to foreign markets taught big players a good lesson in ethnic preferences. That was how they started paying closer attention to ethnic differences at home as well. The skin problems that many foreign customers complained of had occurred due to companies' inability to… [END OF PREVIEW]

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