There’s no denying it. Halal has blown up this year. With Muslim beauty buyers becoming increasingly progressive in their beauty buying habits, their desire for halal cosmetics is continuing to grow. Indeed, with Muslim spend on cosmetics expected to reach US$81 billion by 2021, halal is an area with untapped potential.

Ooh us consumers have become tricky customers of late. One minute, we’re sweeping up bargain-basement toothpaste in Poundland and the next we’re paying $$$ for bespoke designer skin care. Euromonitor has dubbed this ‘middle class retreat’, revealing that the growth of discounters in developed markets is indicative of a swathe of strivers struggling to maintain the economic position they enjoyed for the last half a century. At the same time, premiumization – another Euromonitor megatrend – describes the phenomenon of prioritization where budgets are concerned. In other words, we’re spending where it counts.

‘Liberal’ is a word that could most definitely be used to describe the cosmetics and personal care industry in 2017. While the political world was battling 2016’s decisions that some may say were transgressive, our industry was taking social restrictions and limitations and ripping them up. Experimental beauty, championing diversity, and, frankly, downright weird and wonderful products: all of the above was loud and proud this year.

Euromonitor pinpointed the reinvention of gender roles as one of its 20 most influential megatrends set to influence the world through 2030, and we couldn’t agree more. Already we’ve seen a seismic shift in the beauty industry – 2017 was undoubtedly the year that the male-female divide was all but smashed.

Digital. It’s nothing new. Gen Z love it, millennials love it, perennials love it, nay, even the baby boomers love it (Mum, put Snatch down). As a result, over the course of the year the industry has been continuing its assault and firing from all cylinders on the technology front. From supplier to retailer, digital was big business.

With three emerging markets predicted to be among the five largest economies in the world by 2030, and emerging and developing countries accounting for two-thirds of global output by 2030, it’s no surprise that the cosmetics industry is on the move. And, based on this year’s news, our money is on China for the foreseeable.

If there’s one thing the personal care and cosmetics world likes to do, it’s innovate. Shiseido recently unveiled ‘Sensing Shoes to detect foot odour’ while Unilever-funded AR game Snatch is doing big things since its inception. And while innovation in the digital world is clear, where does that leave the other mega trend – sustainability?

If there’s one word that manufacturers ignore at their peril, it’s wellness. For this movement shows no signs of going anywhere – indeed, ‘healthy living’ and ‘ethical living’ both made Euromonitor’s top eight Megatrends.

The first step to success? Getting your audience right. This year there was more emphasis than ever on who should be targeted, and how. And if 2017 taught us anything, it’s that millennials are still a huge pull. However, while there was a clear focus on the desirability of the tech-savvy, brave beauty buying, forward-thinking younger generation, they weren’t the only target market getting a look in. But let’s focus on them for a second – because, let’s face it, they rule the school, so to speak.

It’s almost surprising that, in 2017, we’re talking about multiculturalism as a year-defining trend - and one of Euromonitor’s megatrends, no less. But here we are, and even if it took longer than expected, the beauty world IS finally taking diversity seriously.

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