FIT Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing and Management Capstone Research 2023

NEW YORK, June 23, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Beauty in a Shifting Global Landscape, a two-part study conducted by the Fashion Institute of Technology’s (FIT) Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing and Management Class of 2023, examines (1) The Future of the Global Consumer and (2) The Future of Global Talent. Released today, this research from the “Beauty Think Tank” delves into the ways in which the industry will need to adapt to cater to the evolving needs and wants of both consumers and employees.

The cohort completed six months of global research that included quantitative and qualitative studies, field study in India and the United Arab Emirates, and over 100 interviews with leaders and experts across the beauty, banking, higher education, technology, pharmaceuticals, consulting, entertainment, sports, fashion, construction, and health care industries. 

Video of the presentations can be accessed online.

Download images from the presentations here.

Beauty in a Shifting Landscape, Part I: The Future of the Global Consumer
This student group’s research aims to identify new drivers of growth in beauty. By analyzing the current outlook of the global economy, the team developed insights and recommendations to inform the way brands should evolve their business strategy to expand their consumer growth segments. Over the next 10 years, growth and longevity in the beauty industry will be hard to come by as the barrier for entry becomes lower and the landscape becomes even more competitive. Based on surveys, case studies, interviews, and data analysis, the FIT students identified three key opportunities that will enable brands to identify and successfully engage with the global consumer over the next decade: 

Opportunity: India as a New Global World Power
India is emerging as a hotspot with significant long-term potential as an expanding middle class, a disproportionately large younger generation, and strong economic prospects drive increased per capita spending on discretionary goods. This presents a significant opportunity for businesses looking to diversify their geographic reach, capture new consumers, and mitigate risks associated with relying heavily on a single or few markets for new growth. 

As a key emerging market, India is an attractive investment opportunity for the beauty industry. The students developed a proprietary framework they call EPIC (see below) to evaluate the country, diving into the socio-economic and cultural factors that make it a unique investment:

E—Economic opportunities are apparent as India’s GDP growth for last year was 7%, making it one of the world’s best-performing economies; India is projected to be the world’s third largest economy by 2030.
P—Population growth is a driving factor as India has surpassed China as the most populous country in the world with 1.42 billion people.
I— Infrastructure, both physically and digitally, including India’s robust investment in transportation and smart cities ($121 billion through 2024) and the rise of digital infrastructure, with 90% of the population having access to the internet by 2030. India is also the global leader in digital payments.
C—Cultural growth pillars, such as Bollywood, weddings, yoga, and Ayurveda, show India’s unique culture of beauty rooted in tradition. The success of these cultural pillars is evident in Bollywood being the second largest film industry in the world. 

Opportunity: Silver Spender: The Growing Aging Population in Developed Nations
By 2030, the 60+ age group will encompass approximately 50% of the world’s total population. By analyzing qualitative research and validating it through quantitative data, the students identified this consumer segment as the most under-represented and overlooked in the beauty industry. The Silver Spenders are not only the fastest growing consumer segment worldwide, but they also hold roughly 50% of the global net worth. As a consumer group that spans three generations and holds a wealth of life experience and lifestyle nuances, brands need to move away from looking at this consumer segment as a monolith. 

Student researchers recommend brands take the following steps to gain the attention of Silver Spenders: 

  • Expand consumer focus and budget to target Silver Spenders, recognizing their diversity and range of experiences.
  • Target communication to speak directly to the Silver Spender in media and advertising as all consumers want to be seen, spoken to, and represented by the brands they admire.
  • Capture cultural movements to increase audience penetration and remain relevant to Silver Spenders and all consumers.

Opportunity: Recommender System Optimization: Marketing in an AI-Driven Landscape
Algorithm-driven platforms like Spotify, Netflix, and TikTok are changing the way consumers and brands interact. The key to future success is for brands to align with the actions of a platform’s algorithm. Through in-depth research of best-in-class companies that are propelled by recommender-driven personalization, the cohort has identified what makes these platforms unique and how brands can best navigate a world of recommender-driven commerce platforms through recommender system optimization or RSO.

For a brand to fully align with the algorithm and implement a strong recommender system optimization strategy, the cohort recommends these key strategies: 

  • Identify unlikely and strong connections between brands and cultural moments.
  • Categorize connections based on moments (quick to come and go but potentially large payoff if capitalized on correctly), milestones (additive to brand in the medium term), and movements that align with a brand’s DNA).
  • Develop a marketing budget to support the RSO strategy. When determining why or how to invest in connections, the key is to remember that a company’s expenditure is feeding the recommender system and strengthening the connection between the brand and a theme. 

Beauty in a Shifting Landscape, Part II: The Future of Global Talent
This group’s research provides an overview of the state of the beauty industry in attracting, retaining, and growing talent, and analyzes critical practices through case studies across industries and markets. Based on the insights and research, the cohort identified three key opportunities to support the necessary evolution of the beauty industry to future-proof businesses and remain a competitive industry for talent over the next decade.

Opportunity: Career Cosmo
The COVID-19 pandemic changed much about the way the workforce operates, leaving many employees feeling confused and uncertain of their future. Research shows that employees want to have more visibility and control over their career journey, while employers need a more consistent, thorough framework for evaluating talent. 

The cohort conceived of a new talent management platform, “Career Cosmo,” as a dynamic skills and experience matrix that evaluates talent holistically. This necessary evolution of talent assessment will provide transparency between the employee and employer with growth accountability, skills measurement, and mobility mapping, aiding employees in their career development and encouraging more strategic succession planning. The personal and professional aspects of the Career Cosmo platform are: values and aspirations; skills and opportunities; personality and style; and experiences and background.

Opportunity: Human Resources Transformation
Throughout the students’ quantitative and qualitative studies, employees at all levels within the beauty industry recognized the opportunity to optimize the role of human resources departments. The evolution of human resource management requires a rebrand for the function based on the pillars that employees agree make the most impact. The cohort recommends the formation of in-house CARES teams—coaching, acquisition, rotation, exploration, services—to focus on the following:

C—Coaching: Empowering employees to navigate their careers, grow within their roles and responsibilities, and integrate into company culture in order to create a positive employee experience.
A—Acquisition: Recruiting and attracting talent and future employees for all functions and business units.
RRotation: Strategically organizing employee mobility, experience, and succession planning that prioritizes overall employee development.
E—Exploration: Creating personalized learning plans that align employee aspirations with future development opportunities.
S—Services: Housing essential human resource functions, both internal and outsourced, such as payroll, benefits, compensation and company policies.

Opportunity: Global Beauty Talent Collective
Well-established industry collectives like the Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW) and the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) exist today to serve the beauty industry, but research shows that there is an opportunity to provide more education and awareness of the beauty industry as a destination for a fulfilling and lucrative career. 

The cohort recommends establishing a global beauty talent collective to establish initiatives to not only grow the pool of incoming and prospective employees but also retain them, creating a stronger foundation for the future of the industry for decades to come. It will also serve as a forum for identifying and shaping the evolution of talent and organizational structures by anticipating future trends and the roles and initiatives that will be created to solve them.

The global beauty talent collective will include representatives from every beauty industry player. It will help to manage the beauty industry’s reputation and level the playing field between international corporations and start-ups while also allowing for collaborative talent attraction and growth within the beauty industry.

In addition to delivering their research findings during a live event, these students received the following awards:

  • Outstanding Scholar: Kailey Komosinski and Nina Zimmering
  • Scholarship Recognition: Lora Blass Freed, Alessandra Piazza, and Kathleen Subijano
  • Shiseido Innovation Award: Shivani Banerji, Marissa Casazza, Lena Rubiano, and Mary Torelli
  • Coty Award for Professional Excellence: Stephanie Kramer
  • Estée Lauder Companies Faculty Leadership Award: Brianna Picciuto
  • L’Oréal Student Leadership Award: Alessandra Piazza
  • Department Medal: Sabina Wagner

About FIT and the Beauty Think Tank
The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), a part of the State University of New York, has been an internationally recognized leader in career education in design, fashion, business, and technology for more than 75 years. The college offers nearly 50 majors and grants AAS, BFA, BS, MA, MFA, and MPS degrees, preparing students for professional success and leadership in the new creative economy. The FIT Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing and Management (CFMM) program, one of seven advanced degree programs in FIT’s School of Graduate Studies, was developed in collaboration with industry as a leadership development program for outstanding mid-career executives. Global luxury firms including Shiseido, Estée Lauder and L’Oréal, and global consumer packaged goods companies including Coty and Unilever, nominate talented emerging executives to participate in the two-year program. The CFMM program has become the beauty industry’s recognized think tank, producing high-level research presented to industry executives and organizations, and during specialized panels, symposia, and forums in both academia and industry. Visit For more information on FIT, visit

SOURCE Fashion Institute of Technology

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Fashion - TREND MAG originally published at Fashion - TREND MAG

This news story originally appeared at Fashion - TREND MAG on 28 June 2023