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Cosmoprof Miami Off to a Hot Start

It may have been 9 a.m., but the mimosas were flowing and the mood was festive at the opening ceremonies for the inaugural Cosmoprof Miami conference — and why not. With more than 19,000 attendees from 113 countries and 700 exhibitors from 40 countries, the event drew a larger crowd than anticipated, and looks primed to become a permanent part of the beauty schedule.

“We’ve exceeded all of our expectations, with thousands of retailers, distributors, investors and media from around the globe,” said Ed McNeill, Cosmoprof’s senior vice president, as he cut the opening ribbon with attendees including Miami Beach city commissioner Laura Dominguez.

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Fifty-six percent of the exhibitors are new to Cosmoprof, looking to take advantage of Miami’s centricity to South, Central and North America, and the Latin American presence was double that of Cosmoprof’s existing Las Vegas event held annually in July.

“Cosmoprof North America’s expansion to Miami was a huge success,” said Liza Rapay, vice president, Cosmoprof North America. “We stand ready to cater to an even broader network, with Las Vegas and Miami serving as pivotal hubs in our strategic network.”

The show, held in the Miami Beach Convention Center from Jan. 23 to 25, also devoted about 23 percent of its overall space to Cosmopack, and for the first time in North America, machinery manufacturers were on the show floor.

Overall, almost 60 percent of the exhibitors were new to Cosmoprof North America, with makeup, skin care and fragrance representing 37 percent, hair at 32 percent and nails at 8 percent.

Cosmoprof Miami
Cosmoprof Miami

The guitarist playing Latin music during the opening ceremonies presaged the exuberance that attendees and exhibitors outlined when talking about the potential of South America as a key market for international beauty manufacturers.

Daniel Morimoto, vice president and general manager, Latin America, of Circana, outlined the key dynamics of the market during a in-depth presentation of key categories and geographies. Currently,  the Latin American market as a whole entity is the fourth-largest beauty market, behind the U.S., China and the European Union. The largest countries in terms of prestige beauty sales are Mexico at $1.5 billion, Brazil at $1 billion, Argentina at $880 million, Chile at $480 million and Peru at $180 million, Morimoto said, noting that most retailers in those countries sell both mass and prestige and that prestige is still a developing business.

Beauty overall grew 21 percent in the combined markets, with prestige growing in dollar sales and mass and mid-range sales increasing 27 percent, driving most of the growth.

In terms of channels, department stores account for half of total prestige sales and are growing double digits, Morimoto said, noting that the specialty channel, particularly in Brazil and Argentina, and the pharmacy channel are the two that are driving significant growth.

Online accounts for about 20 percent of total sales in most Latin American countries, except for Brazil, where it is 31 percent.

Fragrance is the largest prestige category in Latin America, representing 63 percent of sales. Unit sales grew 4 percent last year, but the average product price — $107 — was up 13 percent. According to Circana, the key trends in fragrance include an increase in high concentration and luxury brands at one end of the spectrum and a boom in body and hair sprays driven by TikTok and Gen Z at the other. Morimoto noted that celeb scents, like Ariana Grande’s offerings, are also performing well.

As elsewhere in the world, there has been a shift in why people are buying scents. “Seven out of 10 people said they choose scents because it lifts their mood and half say because it energizes them,” said Morimoto. “They are choosing scents because they like how it smells for  themselves.”

Cosmoprof Miami
Cosmoprof Miami

Makeup is the fastest growing category at prestige in Latin America, representing 21 percent of total sales. Dollar sales rose 30 percent and unit sales were up 14 percent, with key trends including the skinification of makeup, the resurgence of lip products, TikTok and social media-inspired looks like Strawberry makeup and the popularity of multifunctional products.

“Innovation in makeup is driving growth and attracting consumers to stores,” said Morimoto, noting that radiant foundation sales increased 73 percent, clear eyebrow gel rose 52 percent and lip gloss rose 66 percent.

Skin care represents 13 percent of the prestige beauty pie and was up 14 percent in dollar terms and 3 pecent in unit sales, with an average product price of $80. Body care has been a key driver, Morimoto said, growing twice as fast as facial skin care brands. Makeup brands, like MAC, that have introduced skin care have also found success in the market, and multifunctional products are also resonating.

Hair is a newer source of growth for prestige beauty, with a 3 percent share. The majority of that is done online, Circana reports, with fast-growing subsectors including heat protectants up 43 percent, scalp care up 39 percent, hair thinning up 32 percent and curly hair up 29 percent.

Brazil has always been a leading global market for hair diversity, and Circana reported that 2023 was a record year for exports in the category, with Brazilian hair products clocking 3 billion views on TikTok.

Morimoto was bullish on sales for the year ahead, noting that many countries are starting to recover economically and that foreign direct investment is growing, resulting in more brands coming in.

Consumers are ready. “Latinos are beauty enthusiasts,” said Morimoto. “They are aware of innovation on a global scale and they want to buy products at the same time as the rest of the world.”

In terms of innovation, there was much to see at Cosmoprof. BeautyStreams, the Paris-based consultancy, identified four key trends: frizz fighters and conditioning hair color in hair care, the preponderance of multibenefit lip formulas in makeup and in skin care, formulas that defend against external aggressors, and a trend it called “Shield Up.”

Mushrooms were the hot ingredient, and Neon Hippie, an L.A.-based skin-care brand founded by Nicole Ostoya and launched last year at Neiman Marcus, was one of the most buzzed about. It combines a proprietary 7-mushroom complex with various skin care ingredients, such as 20 percent vitamin C in Neon C, $80, and plumping peptides in the $25 Lucid Lip Serum + Peptide Cream, the brand’s hero product.

Neon Hippie products.
Neon Hippie products.

Other brands generating considerable buzz among retailers included Project Reef, a mineral sunscreen brand from Maui, Hawaii; Jess Beauty, the Venezuelan brand founded by influencer Jessica Barboza whose Sun Drops Oil garnered raves, and Skincare Junkie, created by New York-based dermatologist Blair Rose.

“I’ve seen a lot of focus around mushrooms, some great innovation in hair, such as temporary hair color masks that last seven to eight weeks, and the trend of LED activation,” said Jaclyn Diamond, omni buyer for Macy’s. “In the past, we’ve seen brands that are first to market, but not always ready to scale. Here, there are a lot of brands that have done their due diligence in terms of who their customers are and their bestsellers, and they are ready for retail.”

“The show was really good,” agreed Mimi Udezue, a senior hair care buyer at Target. “Discover Brands had a lot of potential and I really liked the focus on Hispanic brands. In hair care, I saw some really cool packaging for the younger generation.”

The Ulta Beauty team was focused on the tools section in particular. “The tool space was interesting as guests are looking for more at-home solutions for skin care and wellness,” said Muffy Clince, senior director of emerging brands and initiatives, citing Medikube as a standout. In all, she called Cosmoprof Miami “time well spent for our team.”

Executives from established brands were also on hand, walking the show floor and meeting with manufacturers and suppliers. “It’s very purposeful to have everyone get together early in the year, as we’re building out our ideas for 2025,” said Martin Okner, chief executive officer of Fromm International. “The timing of this show is ideal. You’re not butting up against budget deadlines late in the year and while plans are in place for 2025, there’s enough time to adjust and have the flexibility to implement something new.”

Tammy Fender, founder of the eponymous spa and skin care brand, was on the hunt for packaging suppliers. After focusing on expanding the service side of her business with a new spa in Delray, Fla., and expanding from 14 to 70 employees, she’s targeting growth in the European Union and hoped to find sustainable packaging options to facilitate that.

Cosmoprof Miami
Cosmoprof Miami

The manufacturing and supplier side also drew interest from the investor community. M&A activity is picking up in the sector, as investors look to capitalize on the growth of beauty as a category overall without the added risk of betting on a particular brand. “It’s a large and highly fragmented market,” said Brian Oleniczak, head of business-to-business consumer products at William Blair. “We’re starting to see consolidation, where private-equity backed companies are looking to expand their reach and grow their platforms via accretive add-on acquisitions.  There are many founder-led businesses in this space that are often good at one capability — like hair care or lip products — and have the available capacity  to  further scale but not the necessary capital or resources that larger private-equity backed platforms can bring to the table.”

Cohere Beauty was one such example. Created by the private equity firm Core Industrial, it consists of four manufacturers — Marianna Beauty, Arizona Natural Resources, Health Specialty Inc. and Contract Filling Inc. — which have been integrated to offer product formulation, manufacturing and packaging under one roof. Its primary categories are hair are, fragrance and skin care.

“We’ve put four manufacturers together, but have been able to maintain our customer intimacy at scale,” said chief executive officer Christine Staples, noting that attendance at Cosmoprof Miami was strong. “It was a big unknown compared to Las Vegas, but our booth has been packed with a nonstop flow of people. There seems to be a strong slant toward skin care, which is one of our main investment areas.”

Deborah Kilgore, the global director of skin care knowledge at Paula’s Choice, was with her team looking for trends and innovations. “We’ve been talking a lot about the microbiome, the skin barrier and longevity,” she said. “The education here has been great and it’s an interesting environment to gather insights and information.”

There were a number of different speakers under the CosmoTalks education umbrella, including a panel on unlocking insights into new product innovation with Janet Pardo of Clinique, Susan Akkad of the Estée Lauder Cos. and Agnes Landau of Shiseido; growing brands’ Latin American footprint with Claudia Lloreda of Blush-Bar, Bibiana Bosquero of Christian Dior Parfums and Huguette Cervantes Laign of El Palacio de Hierro; and the evolution of retail with Wendy Liebman of WSL Strategic retail, Ulta Beauty’s Clince and Ali Kole of Amazon.

“We loved the Cosmotalks focusing on retail evolution, packaging sustainability, and driving innovation in product development,” said Lloreda, founder and general manager of Blush-Bar, which has more than 35 stores in Colombia, Chile and Mexico. “Seeing Janet Pardo, Agnes Landau and Susan Akkad from the Estée Lauder Companies in their panel was a major highlight — I worked with them for several years and learned everything from them; they are beauty icons, the best of the best! We came home energized, with many follow-ups to do.”

Retailer’s Faves

Some leading retailers share their favorite finds at Cosmoprof.

Muffy Clince, Senior Director, Emerging Brands and Initiatives, Ulta Beauty

Olivia Umma: “Loved the inclusive and vegan approach to K-beauty glass skin essentials in fun whimsical packaging.”

Fount Society

Spilanthox Therapy

Ian Ginsberg, President, C.O. Bigelow

Project Reef: “Beautifully done and hasn’t gone into retail yet — just hotels.”

Jess Beauty

Neon Hippie

Clean Skin Club

Jaclyn Diamond, Omni Buying Director, Macy’s

Jess Beauty: “I’ve never seen a serum with SPF — this eliminates a step.”

Neon Hippie

Fatboy

CeCe King, Multichannel Beauty Buyer, Skin Care, Nordstrom

Project Reef

Dear Dahlia

Claudia Lloreda, Founder and General Manager, Blush-Bar

Supermood: “This Finnish wild nature and holistic brand caught my eye.”

Skincare Junkie

Project Reef

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