After a year of explosive growth for Avène, the brand is eyeing new demographics — and retailers — for expansion.
The French skin care brand formulated for sensitive skin is cashing in on consumer interest by boosting awareness and consumer access simultaneously. Avène will be entering Ulta Beauty this month, which is going hand-in-hand with a vigorous TikTok campaign.
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Large increases in brand interest and digital sales precipitated the efforts, said Jacqueline Flam, chief marketing officer of Pierre Fabre, Avène’s parent company.
“Like most other brands in the skin care world, we’ve seen our e-commerce sales and our d-to-c sales on our own website explode over the past 18 months,” Flam said. “It led us to make some different choices in terms of our distribution opportunities, and in terms of how we approach the consumer interest in the brand as well as retailer interest, which has grown substantially.”
Flam credited renewed interest in skin care for sensitive skin, which grew exponentially over the course of the pandemic. “There were a ton of brand new customers that were coming to Avène, seeking out sensitive skin care,” she cited. “They were looking for essentials recommended by dermatologists, and perhaps their skin was inflamed or irritated with everything else going on.”
Flam didn’t comment on revenues, although industry sources estimate the brand will reach $75 million in sales in 2022.
Research studies in Avène’s international markets showed strong interest from Gen Z and Millennial consumers. “How we communicate around sensitive skin has been very appealing to consumers in the 18- to 34-year-old demographic,” Flam said. “What really helped us develop our strategy around TikTok was the fact that we were looking to inspire and educate the consumer in a way that was different for us. They were paying attention.”
Communicating Avène’s authority in its market segments is also key to the brand’s expansion. “Because we’re owned by a pharma company, we have a tremendous amount of research and development that goes into each product, and more often than not, the brand is using proprietary actives,” Flam said. “Our challenge is to be able to educate around something new in a way that is consumer-centric.”
As previously reported by WWD, dermocosmetics brands have expedited growth via Millennial interest and social media prowess, such as in the case of CeraVe.
“The Avène brand is unique in that it has a very strong emotional connection with consumers, both patients that we see in dermatologist’s offices as well as customers with sensitive skin,” Flam said. “We’ve made a lot of investments in different tools of how we reach the customer through the lens of education, whether it be through social, or other means.”
“With the TikTok campaign, we’re really trying to reach the consumer through education on that platform,” Flam continued, adding that both traditional creators and dermatologists on the platform will be topping its roster. “By using both derms that are in our network as well as those who have a strong reach with consumers and patients, we can really tell our story.”
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