Decade, Diverse Brands Vasiliki Petrou’s Insights on Unilever Prestige

Unilever Prestige, our luxury beauty division, celebrates its inaugural decade boasting a collection of 10 esteemed brands, 13 successive quarters of growth driven by volume, and a remarkable turnover of €1.4 billion in 2023. We had the opportunity to speak with Group CEO Vasiliki Petrou, who has been at the helm of this venture since its inception. Vasiliki, could you share how Unilever Prestige originated?

In 2014, we embarked on this journey with a clean slate. Recognizing the swift expansion within the prestige beauty sector, which was a previously unexplored domain for Unilever, we decided to make our entry.

Our approach has always been discerning; we selectively acquire brands that complement our existing portfolio. We find resonance in founder-led brands, often retaining their visionary creators. A decade later, I take immense pride in stating that Prestige stands as one of the fastest-growing segments within Unilever, consistently outpacing market trends.

How would you encapsulate the 10 brands under Unilever Prestige?

Within our portfolio, three brands excel in the rapidly burgeoning realm of ‘clinical derma-cosmetics’: Dermalogica, Murad, and Kate Somerville.

Another trio operates within the ‘clean and clinical’ niche: Paula’s Choice, REN, and Garancia.

The remaining four brands span diverse high-growth sectors, from scientifically-driven hair care to opulent color cosmetics and skincare: K18, Tatcha, Living Proof, and Hourglass.

Dermalogica and Paula’s Choice stand as pillars among Unilever’s Power Brands, constituting over 75% of our turnover. How has acquisition influenced these brands within the Unilever Prestige fold?

Since 2017, approximately 60% of our turnover expansion has stemmed from organic growth.

We’ve witnessed exponential growth in several acquired brands, with turnovers doubling and tripling post-integration into Unilever. Hourglass, for instance, has tripled in size, while Tatcha has doubled.

How does Unilever’s global footprint benefit Unilever Prestige brands?

Unilever’s expansive global reach ensures our presence in countless households worldwide. However, within Unilever Prestige, we adopt a more focused approach, concentrating on select markets where the potential for brand growth is maximal. In Prestige, scarcity fosters desirability.

The US stands as our largest market, constituting approximately 60% of our Prestige business.

Which other markets hold significant prominence for Unilever Prestige?

China emerges as our second-largest market, witnessing exceptional performance across brands such as Dermalogica, Tatcha, Hourglass, and Murad. How does integration with Unilever facilitate the growth of Unilever Prestige brands?

Access to Unilever’s cutting-edge R&D capabilities plays a pivotal role. Our scientists spearhead the development of groundbreaking innovations and ingredients, ensuring swift market penetration.

For instance, our scientists pioneered Hourglass Red 0 – the first entirely vegan red lipstick, free from carmine derived from crushed beetles.

Moreover, Unilever’s extensive consumer insights substantially influence our brands. We leverage vast reservoirs of data to discern consumer preferences, predict emerging trends, and craft innovative products.

Could you highlight some recent successful Prestige products resulting from these insights and breakthroughs?

Our laboratories have birthed several remarkable launches. One standout is Paula’s Choice 25% Vitamin C + Glutathione Clinical Serum, renowned for its skin-brightening and elasticity-enhancing properties.

Similarly, Dermalogica Phyto Nature Oxygen Cream, an ultra-premium offering, has garnered acclaim for its skin-firming and revitalizing effects.

And Hourglass Veil Skin Tint, a beloved favorite among beauty editors, not only hydrates the skin but also imparts a radiant glow, thanks to its infusion of hyaluronic acid.

How integral are social media and influencer marketing to Unilever Prestige?

We place immense value on contemporary marketing strategies. Endorsements from reputable experts and influencers, who rigorously assess our products, significantly enhance our brands’ credibility.

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