December 4 2023  |  Fragrances, Cosmetics, Skincare & Haircare

A deep dive into nature positivity and category evolution with L’Occitane

By Laura Shirk

Following a rigorous assessment, L'Occitane Group announced earlier this year that it is now B Corp certified

In August, L’Occitane Group announced that it had become a certified B Corporation. Following a rigorous assessment of more than three years, with this certification L’Occitane Group joins a community of like-minded businesses that share a collective vision to create an inclusive, fair and regenerative economy. “This certification builds on the Group’s ongoing commitment to create positive change by empowering the communities it invests in, protecting biodiversity, reducing waste and mitigating climate change,” shared the company at the time.

Shortly after the announcement, Global Travel Retail Magazine (GTR Magazine) sat down with Mona L’Hostis, Head of Global Travel Retail Marketing at L’Occitane Group, in Cannes, for a one-on-one interview. L’Hostis pointed out what sets B Corp apart is that it measures and verifies a company’s social environmental performance, transparency and accountability. Businesses are required to evaluate their overall impact and maintain or improve performance standards on a regular basis and recertify every three years.

Speaking about its B Corp status and work to further achieve a nature-positive world, L’Hostis said the Group aims to offer the same knowledge and opportunities to stakeholders worldwide and exchange information and experience with other forward-looking groups – especially within travel retail. Considering the expansive nature of B Corp and the discrepancy between regions in recognition and awareness, L’Occitane Group believes it is responsible for promoting not only its achievement, but also the B Corp movement.

With an upgraded formula the Group's Immortelle Divine Cream is a powerful blend that features Immortelle Super Extract and is clinically proven to stimulate collagen production

Immortelle Divine collection & approach to face care

Based on personalization and prestige beauty, L’Occitane Travel Retail launched a pop-up product animation at Mova Mall in Haikou, Hainan, to generate awareness of the Immortelle Divine collection by L’Occitane en Provence. The animation showcased the upgraded formula of its Immortelle Divine Cream; a powerful blend that features Immortelle Super Extract, a natural and highly effective alternative to retinol. It is clinically proven to stimulate collagen production, increase skin firmness and reduce the appearance of lines, wrinkles and age spots. According to the company, Immortelle Divine Secret derives from the immortelle flower, grown organically in Corsica, France, and known for its longevity and durability in harsh environments.

The enhanced face care product has been promoted in global travel retail as part of a dynamic brand awareness campaign initially rolled out across 13 airports in France, UK, China, Brazil and the USA. The initiative includes outdoor and digital activations at key airports combined with a domestic market campaign.

Customers can now take part in a new Flash Skin Diagnosis experience exclusive to the channel. As previously reported and described by L’Hostis, an innovative device can be used on both the face and hair for a complete and expert diagnosis – plus, a Flash Face Care ten-minute priming treatment offers a soothing experience in which the skin is hydrated and relaxed to protect it from the “drying atmosphere inflight.” The goal of the diagnosis is to help consumers learn more about their skin type and how to amplify their skincare routine.

“Our objective with the [Immortelle Divine Cream animation] was to retake the lead and explain to consumers that of course we have hand creams; but we also have a great range of products globally in skincare – and especially face care,” said L’Hostis during the interview. “The approach to face care is complex, and so we need to guide customers through their routine. On our side it’s important to be able to explain the different extracts that we use in our products. The idea is to better understand what is the immortelle [flower], what are the extracts used and what are the results of these extracts.”

Sol de Janeiro at Frankfurt Airport; the brand is creating a new category in duty free with its scented body sprays and mists

Niche fragrances & nutricosmetics

When asked about what upcoming trends are forming in duty free and the establishing of new retail categories, L’Hostis commented that the Group is now seeing travelers arrive early at the airport specifically to shop duty free. In addition to a desire for both new and niche brands, L’Hostis believes the channel will see a transformation of counter spaces and in-store experiences. A fan favorite among Gen Z, fragrance and body care brand Sol de Janeiro is a perfect example of this she says. “It was launched in April exclusively with Dufry and is now being rolled out worldwide. Sol [de Janeiro] is creating a new category with its scented body sprays and mists. It is pushing boundaries and differentiating the value proposition for shoppers. Niche fragrances are going to perform very well in the coming months,” explained L’Hostis.

L’Hostis also mentioned skincare, haircare and body care brand Grown Alchemist – promoted with the tagline: The biology of beautiful skin – as a name that is disrupting the channel. Based on true product innovation, Grown Alchemist follows a holistic scientific approach to identifying the “mechanisms” that regulate the aging process of the body and skin. According to the brand, it operates over several professional disciplines including medicine, nutrition, dermatology and genetics to “leverage the body’s natural capability to slow and in many cases, reverse the aging of the body and in particular, the skin.” L’Hostis said we can also expect to see the creating of a new category based on nutricosmetics in the future.

At the end of the interview, L'Hostis told GTR Magazine that L’Occitane Travel Retail’s plan for 2024 is to continue to adapt to the consumer based on the region and location. While the full return of the Chinese consumer is still to be determined, the company recognizes it needs to adapt to the PAX profile from airport to airport.

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