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Unilever Prestige at ten: discover our €1.4 billion beauty business

14 May 2024

A photo of products from the Paula’s Choice AHA Exfoliant and BHA Exfoliant range. Packaging is white and dark grey.

Ten years ago, we launched Unilever Prestige to enter a white space in Unilever’s portfolio – the luxury beauty segment. Now this thriving business is one of the fastest growing in the company.

Unilever Prestige started out as a bold idea – an opportunity for Unilever to capitalise on the rapidly growing luxury beauty sector which, ten years ago, was a gap in our portfolio.

A decade later, it’s one of the fastest growing parts of Unilever, delivering 13 successive quarters of volume-led growth up to Q1 2024, and contributing €1.4 billion in 2023.

Since 2017, around 60% of its turnover increase has been driven by organic growth. And this booming business – part of our Beauty & Wellbeing business group – is growing ahead of the market with some of its brands having doubled (Tatcha) and even tripled (Hourglass) in turnover since joining Unilever.

Part of the secret to its success is the start-up mentality which permeates Unilever Prestige. Many of the founders behind its brands are still involved today, shaping an entrepreneurial culture with each brand managed in a tailored way that’s right for its goals and growth.

Being part of Unilever also helps to unlock growth through our global reach, operational excellence and world-leading R&D.

Among the pioneering Prestige innovations developed by Unilever scientists is Hourglass Red 0 – the first fully vegan red lipstick made without carmine, a pigment derived from crushed beetles.

Dermalogica’s ultra-premium Phyto Nature Oxygen Cream is clinically proven to reduce the appearance of premature wrinkles and is the biggest ever launch for the brand. And we’re seeing strong results from Paula’s Choice new 25% Vitamin C + Glutathione Clinical Serum, which visibly firms the skin and improves elasticity.

A photo of an Hourglass lip product. Packaging is red and the product is on a pink background.

Unilever’s consumer insights also help power growth for our Prestige brands, providing a wealth of data which we use to identify consumer preferences, predict trends and design new products.

With 55% of sales through digital channels, Prestige brands are applying insights and innovative tech in digital marketing too, using AI to interact with consumers and prescribe the perfect products for their skin care or hair care needs.

The newest addition to the Prestige portfolio is science-led hair care brand K18 which sits at the intersection of premium beauty and biotechnology and joined the business in February 2024.

Already established in a high-growth premium sector, and the second most-watched brand on TikTok, its novel K18Peptide™ products are an online sensation, with influencers and consumers regaling viewers with the results of its nourishing hair treatments.

So what’s next for Unilever Prestige? As Unilever Chief Financial Officer Fernando Fernandez told investors at our Q1 2024 results presentation, all our larger Prestige Beauty brands delivered positive growth through the quarter – with particularly strong performances from Tatcha, Hourglass and Living Proof.

“The continuing volume-led growth of Prestige Beauty is successfully reshaping our portfolio and increasing our exposure to the critical US market and, in particular, to selective premium and online channels,” he said.

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