Image: Manelisi Dabata

The most accessible luxury products of all are cosmetics. Kylie Jenner, the half-sister of Kim Kardashian and founder of Kylie Cosmetics, has become the world’s youngest self-made billionaire after her company signed an exclusive partnership with Ulta Beauty. Jenner is just 21 years old and is worth $1.02-billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

As an aside, the global appetite for fashion, cognac and fine leather goods has pushed Bernard Arnault ahead of Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett in the wealth stakes and into third place on that Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The LVMH chair has added $14.5-billion to his fortune so far this year and is now worth $83.1-billion.

Global beauty market growth 2018 5.5%

Back to the beauty business. Globally the beauty market is growing at a tremendous clip — 5.5% last year, the fastest rate in two decades — and, far from being disintermediated, big beauty brands have, in fact, been boosted by digital. Kylie Jenner built that business on Instagram.

Ordinary investors should consider L’Oréal shares. L’Oréal’s eight biggest brands together grew 8.4%, which, again, is the best growth in two decades. Barriers to entry are now lower so it’s easier for people to start small beauty brands, but it is still difficult for them to scale up, and there is a rapid churn. In a fragmented world, consumers still seek out trusted names, and digital algorithms, blogs, reviews, and influencers can increase big-brand exposure as never before. Oh, and don’t forget to buy Facebook shares. It owns Instagram, remember?

Theron is CEO of asset manager Vestact.

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