Beauty is experiencing her own baby boom

PARIS – Oh baby!

While the so-called Sephora Kids continue to stir up debate with their age-inappropriate skincare products, the battle between luxury brands is heating up to win the hearts and wallets of consumers even younger: babies and children.

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It’s a growing niche, with brands like Dior, Hermès and Petit Bateau all boasting a growing fan base, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. With price tags that can top €200, such products are designed for the youngest members of Generation Alpha and, increasingly, their entire families.

“Brands were getting into baby fragrances or cosmetics, but over the last few years there seems to have been a big increase in that area,” said Fflur Roberts, head of luxury goods at Euromonitor International. “It’s definitely a very niche area. That said, it’s likely to grow as more brands expand into other categories or go further into lifestyle.”

Baby Dior’s new beauty line is jumping on the bandwagon, and is now available worldwide, especially in the US from June exclusively at Dior’s New York boutique and JFK airport. The collection includes Bonne Étoile, an eau de senteur with notes of pear, rose hip and musk. Developed by Dior’s perfume creative director Francis Kurkdjian, it contains no alcohol and is 98 percent naturally derived. A 100ml bottle costs 255 euros.

There’s also La Mousse Très Fondante Baby Dior cleansing foam for babies and children, for face, body and hair, for 85 euros; Le Lait Très Tendre face and body lotion, for 105 euros, and L’Eau Très Frais liquid cleanser, for 85 euros.

Bonpoint is a pioneer in the prestigious baby and children’s beauty segment. The fashion brand was launched in 1975 by Marie-France Cohen and 10 years later the iconic fragrance Eau de Bonpoint for children and Eau de Senteur for newborns, created by her sister Annick Goutal, came out. A women’s fragrance, Eau Intense, was launched in 2018.

Nowadays, a Bonpoint gift is usually sprayed with the brand’s scent.

“It’s part of our immersive experience,” says Gala Sarmini Kressmann, Bonpoint’s chief marketing and digital officer. “All of our customers know about it. It’s like a Madeleine de Proust.”

Bonpoint’s iconic orange blossom note appears in the brand’s skin-care line, which launched in 2010. Today, it has 20 permanent stock units, including cleansers and moisturizers for the face and body. A baby-friendly sunscreen line has sold out four times, and shampoo, with a whipped cream pump, came out a year ago. Each vegan formula contains a minimum of 94 percent naturally derived ingredients and is made in France.

“All of our skin care is really made for babies and the family,” Sarmini Kressmann said. “The scent is very subtle in skin care.”

The products comply with strict French regulations for baby and child care and are tested by pediatricians and dermatologists.

More recently, the brand has expanded its reach beyond children. Bonpoint’s Crème Revitalisante, launching in 2023, is for pregnant women or new mothers. “That shows our goal to grow into [a line for] “The mothers and the children,” she said.

The brand is found in 14 spas, where it offers specific treatments for mothers and children ages 6 and up. Twenty percent of Bonpoint’s beauty line is used by parents themselves. The fragrances and skin care products are sold in 30 countries through 130 boutiques and wholesalers. “APAC, and China in particular, is where our beauty line is best known,” says Sarmini Kressmann.

Beauty is a growing business, accounting for 30 percent of Bonpoint’s total revenue, which according to industry sources amounts to around €50 million annually. The beauty line is experiencing double-digit growth worldwide.

In China, where Bonpoint has three dedicated beauty boutiques, the category generates about 45 percent of sales, making it the brand’s largest beauty market. There, Bonpoint is also sold in duty-free Hainan, Hong Kong, Seoul and Macao.

Europe is also a big market. For the first time, Bonpoint will have a special pop-up in Terminal 1 of Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport this summer. The brand is also growing in the US

“Whether it’s skin care or perfume, we’re really going to deploy the range,” says Sarmini Kressmann.

Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Baby & Kids Collection, which features five prestige skincare products, is also performing well in the APAC region, with gifting having a strong influence there. Other top markets include the U.S., U.K. and France, at luxury retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman, Holt Renfrew, Harrods and Le Bon Marché, says Barbara Sturm, founder of Dr. Barbara Sturm Molecular Cosmetics.

“The carefully curated baby and children’s sets in the collection perform best, as they offer a beautiful selection of products and provide everything children need for their sensitive skin. They also make a beautiful gift,” she said.

Sturm launched baby products in 2018, including bath milk, hair and body shampoo, face cream and baby bottom cream. Prices range from £20 to £40.

“I created it for my daughter Pepper because I had such a hard time finding skin-friendly products for her on the market,” Sturm said. “There are so many products out there that are full of harmful ingredients that irritate our children’s skin.

“Children’s skin is much more sensitive than adult skin and is more susceptible to perioral dermatitis, eczema, allergies and other skin conditions if we don’t care for it properly,” she continued. “In fact, applying the wrong ingredients or using the wrong approach to children’s skin can trigger or worsen these skin conditions.”

With this in mind, she developed the products without perfume, mineral oils or essential oils, which, she said, “can be harmful to the natural barrier function of everyone’s skin, but especially to the delicate skin of babies and children.”

“Fragrance can cause inflammation and skin disorders,” Sturm said. “My passion is to continue to educate about the unique needs of pre-teen and teen skin, as well as educate about ingredients that are commonly found in skin care that cause inflammation and many of the skin conditions that clients are seeking to treat.”

Tous, the Spanish jewelry and accessories brand, started out in 2007 with prestige fragrances for children with Baby Tous. Fast-forward to today, and Korea is the brand’s second-largest perfume market after Europe. Latin America, including Mexico, Colombia and Chile, comes in third.

In Spain, there was no taboo on using alcohol-based fragrance at launch, especially on children’s clothes or hair. But that wasn’t the case elsewhere in Europe, where Tous launched a more alcohol-free product, says Sonia Graffin, creative and strategic marketing director for fragrances and fashion at the brand’s parent company, PyD.

“[Baby Tous] is still in the top five best-selling fragrances of the brand worldwide for us,” she said, adding that Tous has about 20 fragrances.

Tous Kids followed, first with a product for boys (in blue packaging) and for girls (in pink packaging). In 2024, Tous Kids will be relaunched with new spray capsules, replacing gender-specific shapes with teddy bears. A yellow additive will also be added.

“We have continued to build loyalty among our consumers,” said Graffin, who explained that this includes mothers and that no major marketing investments have been made.

Still, Tous sells between 300,000 and 350,000 units of perfume per year. The 100 ml eau de cologne usually costs between 65 and 75 euros, which brings in around 15 million euros per year.

“In recent years we have been talking about growth of 20 to 25 percent,” says Graffin.

In the luxury segment, Dior’s baby fragrance and beauty collection was also created with Cordélia de Castellane, artistic director of the Baby Dior Collection, and will first launch in Europe in November 2023. She dreamed up a new baby fragrance for the house, which had introduced an eponymous eau de cologne in 1970. A lighter version of Edmond Roudnitska’s Eau Fraîche, it came in a set with shampoo, an oil and two talcum powders.

Today, the proliferation of luxury beauty products – especially fragrances – for babies and children has caused some controversy and ridicule.

“Price is obviously a big thing,” Euromonitor’s Roberts said, adding that the same goes for anything that’s physically applied to the skin of babies or children. “It’s such a delicate area, in terms of the politics behind it, but also from a scientific point of view and people’s opinions about whether we should be doing this or not. A lot of brands might not want to get into that area because it can be challenging in terms of consumer perception.”

For example, when Dior first presented its Bonne Étoile line in November 2023, questions were asked online.

“Should we perfume babies?” Nanshy wrote on X at the time.

“It’s interesting to see high-end brands entering the baby skincare market,” wrote The Private Empire on X. “While the idea of ​​Baby Dior may sound luxurious, it raises questions about the necessity and affordability of such products for little ones. Prioritizing simplicity and safety seems more fitting for baby care.”

Despite such concerns, luxury and prestige baby and children-specific beauty products will continue to grow. There is no global data for the category. But overall, with all price points combined, the segment should continue to grow at a good pace. Euromonitor estimates show that sales are expected to grow 7.7 percent between 2023 and 2024, and 7.3 percent between 2024 and 2025.

This trend toward luxury — and prestige — baby and kids’ products mirrors what’s happening across the beauty industry, says Michael Nolte, senior vice president of creative director at BeautyStreams, a business-to-business market insights and trend platform specializing in the beauty sector. He’s noted a host of trends, including inclusivity, sustainability and sensitive skin concerns, all of which are driving sales. But perhaps the biggest driver is the current trend toward complacency.

“Luxury baby care is, in a way, a form of self-indulgence for adults, because you’re saying to everyone, ‘I can afford luxury for my baby,’” said Nolte, who noted that with global birth rates declining, many may want to pamper their fewer children even more.

Launch Gallery: Luxury Products Fuel Today’s Beauty Industry Baby Boom

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