The world changes quickly. I found an old copy of the Economist magazine the other day with the cover “The World in 2016”. It had a collage of major world leaders and movers and shakers. No one thought to include Trump, the world’s greatest disrupter.
Superdrug declared £92.9m profits in July. They grew 41% and 16% in 2016 and 2017 respectively, a period in which it opened 45 new stores. It attributed its success to the growth of its cosmetics section, which now enjoys a 32% market share.
Commenting on the figures, chief executive of Superdrug’s parent company Peter MacNab gave an almost verbatim repetition of what he said the year before: “Our strategy this year is to ensure we are offering customers everyday accessible health and beauty…”
Note the words “everyday accessible”. No one had a problem with them until last week, when Superdrug announced it was bringing fillers and Botox to the high street for £99, starting with its store in the Strand.
Prominent surgeons and dentists were outraged: this, they argued, is a dangerous precedent because consumers are now being encouraged to adopt the same casual attitude towards injected facial aesthetics as they have towards waxing and eyebrow threading.
They’re right of course — but it’s great PR for Superdrug, which has already said this is its objective. As if to spell it out in capital letters it sponsored Love Island this year.
The show is reported to be behind a further surge in demand for facial aesthetics after the market grew fivefold in five years, because young people want to be like the contestants. One contestant, 24-year-old Megan Barton-Hanson, has spent £25,000 on facial aesthetics and compares it to “getting your hair done”.
For Superdrug and, if we’re honest, anyone offering facial aesthetics, this is all fabulous. The message that it’s quick and convenient is pretty good if you ask me. But more importantly it’s what the public wants, and people will always vote with their feet despite what the experts say.
Superdrug is launching its Skin Renew service following feedback from 10,000 customers who said they wanted anti-wrinkle and skin rejuvenation on the high street, administered by highly qualified nurse practitioners in a private consultation room.
In an online poll Cosmopolitan magazine found 70% of its readers would be buy this service. The only question is how are you going to get a piece of the remaining market share? I suggest you leverage your prestige as a dentist. You don’t have to compete directly with this behemoth. You only have to differentiate yourself as a premium supplier of facial aesthetics. We can help.