Launchmetrics x Glossy Research: The top 10 global premium beauty brands

According to Glossy-exclusive Launchmetrics data, MAC Cosmetics, Fenty Beauty and Huda Beauty came out as the top-three premium beauty brands globally in March, as defined by their media impact value. MIV is a proprietary Launchmetrics metric that tracks the impact of influencers, print media, celebrities, official third-party partners and a brand’s own media channels. MAC Cosmetics tops the list, with $50.3 million in MIV.

“One thing MAC Cosmetics does better than any other brand on this list is build a cult-like following,” said Alison Bringé, Launchmetrics CMO. “Because of this connection they’ve built with their customers, they’ve been able to maintain this relationship and build strong media impact values through their owned media channels.”

Though MAC Cosmetics and its owned media helped place it at the top of the list, other core behind-the-scenes powers, such as Sephora or a celebrity founder, pushed other included companies to the top 10.

The power of Sephora
“One trend that we saw for all brands that was critical is how they leveraged their [retail] partners,” said Bringé. “In half of the brands included, like Tarte, Charlotte Tilbury and Benefit, at least half of the top 10 partner post were from Sephora. If Sephora re-grams a product they were tagged in, those posts can garner something like $5 million to $6 million [in MIV] per month.”

It helps that Sephora has separate Instagram accounts for each country or geography. Compare this to fellow global retailer Net-a-Porter, which only has one branded account. Sephora’s approach is especially helpful to brands like Charlotte Tilbury that may not have the most robust international presence itself but are still distributed in Sephora internationally.

The standout on the list is Glossier, which is DTC-only, and has one global Instagram account and limited international distribution. Yet, it garnered $7.72 million in MIV. Bringé pointed out that founder and CEO Emily Weiss carries cachet all her own (she has 542,000 followers on her own Instagram account) and that the followers of Glossier are perhaps more active to engage with the brand versus others.

Most impactful celebrity founder
Though Weiss helps position Glossier differently from others brands, her clout compared to Huda Kattan or Kylie Jenner pales in comparison. Influencer and celebrity voices are two powerful entities for driving MIV, and both Kattan and Jenner have that. Bringé said that Kattan’s fans believe in her makeup artistry expertise and they connect with her. But she also frequently taps her influencer friends to promote the brand. Influencers drove 75% of Huda Beauty’s MIV, and the brand notably does not pay for influencer promotions.

“[Kattan] did such a great job of leveraging her own voice, as well as her friends’ voices,” said Bringé. “This is quite typical of the brand. If you look at what they do, in general, even for product launches, it’s often her close friends posting about her.”

In the case of Rihanna and Jenner, their presence is more like a traditional celebrity than an influencer. When Rihanna posted about Fenty Beauty four times, she generated $2 million in MIV. However, Jenner posted once in March and generated $1.4 million in MIV. Fenty Beauty still ranked No. 2 on the top-10 list, while Kylie Cosmetics sits at No. 8. Fenty Beauty’s owned media channels drove 42% of its $41.9 million MIV. It was aided by the launch of its Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint and Body Sauce skin tint in March.

“You could look at [this data] two ways: Who’s driving the most value holistically for the brand? Rihanna and Huda are head-to-head. But there is also the efficiency [aspect] and how much each individual post is worth, and Kylie’s average efficiency is the highest,” said Bringé.

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