Previously limited to industry professionals, BeautyCon opened to the public for the first time in 2013. Thousands of screaming teenage girls waited in line to meet their favorite beauty gurus. But, if 2013 was the Year of the Influencer, this year turned out to be the Year of the Brand.
The expo floor at The Reef in downtown Los Angeles was packed with brands both big and small. Where Tarte Cosmetics, Cover Girl, and American Apparel had huge installations with long queues for giveaways and makeovers, some smaller return-favorites also turned out, such as Bellami Hair, NYX, and BH Cosmetics.
BeautyCon, unlike other trade show events, is catering to the teen-girl, online personality market. The fans gathered for a few reasons: to snap selfies with their favorite online personalities, to meet up in person with online friends, and to shop at a discount, of course. Some brands courted guests with great deals and elaborate ways to earn freebies.
Lucky Brand had dressing rooms and a photo studio where attendees could earn vouchers for free jeans in exchange for playing dress-up and posting the photos to social media. American Apparel set up their own pop-up shop, complete with a spinning prize wheel with giveaways that attracted some of the longest lines at the expo hall.
On the cosmetics front, CoverGirl featured wildly popular make-up and manicure stations. Tarte slashed prices nearly in half for their YouTube-trending “Lashes/Flashes/Splashes” mascaras, selling them for 10 bucks. (Retailer Sephora lists the product at $20.) Brands like Stila, Aveeno, Clean and Clear, and Elle Magazine also were sponsors.
BeautyCon also turned out some impressive MCNs, with StyleHaul, The Platform from Maker Studios, and Polished from Big Frame all a major presence at this year’s event.
According to BeautyCon, brand sponsorship has grown 111% since 2013. Attendance has increased from a few thousand attendees at BeautyCon LA 2013, to over 7,000 this year, with over 22 countries represented.
According to ZEFR data, vlogs and hauls from BeautyCon have grown from last year as well. In 2013, 464 BeautyCon-related videos garnered a total of 7.7 million views on YouTube. In 2014, that number nearly doubled in both categories, with 841 videos getting upwards of 15.5 million views.
As BeautyCon continues its exponential growth year after year, brands looking to capitalize on the intersection of teen-girl beauty and lifestyle should take heed and mark their calendars for BeautyCon 2015. Or, risk being left behind.
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