Challenger brands are outperforming luxury beauty's legacy players

By Jo Allen | Published: 11-Jun-2024

The gap is widening between niche or challenger brands and the traditional leaders, yet adapting to and surprising consumers is the winning ticket for all

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Chanel, Dior, Lancôme, Clarins and Estée Lauder are among the legacy leaders that have ruled luxury beauty for decades, and retain the largest market share.

But today, the question is for how long.

In luxury beauty, challenger and niche brands are driving the growth – and the gap between these brands and the traditional legacy players is growing wider.

Challenger brands such as Charlotte Tilbury, Fenty Beauty, Huda Beauty and Trinny London have scaled rapidly within a decade.

And the latest insight from Kantar reveals the extent to which this is impacting prestige beauty in the UK, a market which, encapsulating fragrance, skin care and colour cosmetics, grew by 10% in value terms in the 52 weeks ending 4 February 2024.

“Across prestige beauty we’re seeing the entry of smaller brands growing ahead of the market, whereas the traditional brands – including Dior, Chanel, MAC, Clarins, Lancôme and Estée Lauder are all performing behind the market. They are not as big as they were previously,” says Matt Maxwell, Business Unit Director for Health and Beauty at Kantar.

“On the other hand, Charlotte Tilbury’s sales are up 16%, and we’re seeing brands like Carolina Herrera, Jo Malone London, Viktor & Rolf and Montblanc up almost 50% in this period.

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