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Announcing the State of Influence: Beauty 2021

March 25, 2021

Fragrance, inclusive skincare, body positivity and TikTok-driven content were among the top beauty trends in the influencer market in 2020, according to our latest State of Influence: Beauty 2021. The report investigates how the events of the past year have informed emerging trends in the beauty industry, as well as the social media platform and influencer marketing sectors.

New Traackr Report Reveals Top Beauty, Platforms, and Influencer Trends

The report provides insights into rising beauty, platform and influencer trends based on the content produced by a panel of 41,717 influencers. It analyzes the number of activated influencers, mentions and engagements, produced and shared by these influencers from January 2019 - December 2020, specifically focusing on how 2020 compared to 2019. The report also uses Traackr’s proprietary metric, the Brand Vitality Score (VIT) to benchmark how the content in each category performed, taking into account visibility, impact and brand trust.  

Inclusivity Takes Center Stage, Fragrance Makes a Comeback, and Platforms and Content Evolve

Some key insights from the report include:

Inclusivity Themes

  • Social justice remains top of mind. Although social posts about Black Lives Matter did peak during the height of the movement in summer of 2020, the conversations about social justice never returned to 2019 levels. Comparing all of 2019 to 2020, there was a 10,069% increase in posts about BLM and a 36,198% increase in engagement. It’s possible that this sustained increase is evidence that the influencer community has changed for the better - showing more awareness and action towards social justice issues than before.
  • Body positivity and acceptance gain momentum. Content discussing body positivity and acceptance saw a 324% increase in total number of engagements between 2019 and 2020. This growth is due to the fact that influencers like Lizzo, Jessamyn Stanley and Katie Sturino had more open and proud conversations about the topic, and because brands partnered with a more diverse set of folks to ensure broader representation. 

Beauty Content

  • “Perfume-fluencers” revive fragrance. In 2020, fragrance saw a resurgence in interest and in fact was the second beauty category with the most growth from 2019 to 2020. A major part of that growth was driven by TikTok, with the platform seeing a 237% increase in activated influencers and a significant 1065% spike in engagement. TikTok’s short video format seemed to be a perfect place for influencers to share reviews, post tutorials and convey the essence of a fragrance.
  • Skincare gets more diverse and honest. Skincare saw a major boost during the pandemic as the “skinfluencer movement” went viral. Although the general skincare rise seems to have settled down, conversations around diverse skincare saw a 19% increase in engagements from 2019 to 2020, with brands like Paula’s Choice, KNC Beauty and Black Girl Sunscreen leading the way. Skincare content is also becoming more transparent and honest as influencers and audiences focus discussions on specific skin challenges like acne (194% increase in engagements), eczema (148% increase in engagements) and rosacea (190% increase in engagements).
  • Makeup refocuses to specific trends and content. Although conversations about makeup were down broadly in 2020, some brands and influencers still managed to be successful by getting creative and offering specific, valuable content. For example, lip makeup exploded in popularity on TikTok compared to other platforms with a 134% increase in active influencers and 346% increase in engagements from 2019 to 2020. Other successful trends that were more platform agnostic included natural makeup looks, high-shine and neutral lips, highly pigmented or artistic eyes, and transformation or “glow up” videos.

Platform Trends

  • Social commerce conversation picks up. In the second half of 2020, paid influencer collaborations started picking back up as brands resumed marketing and ad spend following initial pandemic reactions. As brands sought out ways to directly reach and sell to consumers, the conversation around social commerce also climbed with a 27% increase in influencers actively talking about it and a 28% increase in engagements from 2019 to 2020. It wasn’t just influencer conversations picking up — companies started making strategic moves, like Shopify expanding checkout capabilities to Facebook, Instagram and TikTok and L’Oréal investing in social commerce software.
  • Triller, Clubhouse and Pinterest close in on TikTok. The meteoric rise of TikTok proved that consumers are ready for new or revamped social platforms, and vendors are heating up the competition. Based on influencer conversations, Triller saw the most buzz with a 119% increase in posts and 1317% increase in engagements. Coming in second was Clubhouse with a 506% increase in posts and 6% decrease in engagements, and third was Pinterest with a 20% increase in engagements. Further insights on why these platforms succeeded are shared in the full report. 

In speaking to me about the findings, Pierre Loïc- Assayag, CEO and co-founder of Traackr, said, “2020 was a lesson in accountability and resilience. As multiple global issues took hold, brands and influencers needed to step back from product-focused strategies and adopt humanized and authentic mindsets.”  

“In the coming year, we’ll see the need for authentic brand values, strong audience and influencer relationships, creative and value-based content, and platform exploration continue to grow.” 

This report also provides further insight on how paid influencer collaborations have rebounded in the last year, which types of content performed well in the beauty industry, and which influencers are quickly rising to prominence. You can download the full report here

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