HBA Global Expo

This event provides a unique perspective on the beauty industry.
by Leah Genuario
Courtesy of HBA Global Expo

In the shadow of famous landmarks that include the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building, a thriving beauty industry exists in New York City. Many of the world’s largest beauty brands claim the Big Apple as home and, naturally, so do the companies that have built their businesses on serving them.

Recognizing this city’s strong connection to the beauty industry, HBA Global Expo and Conference first debuted at New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in 1993 and grew to become an unrivaled beauty trade event that showcases the entire product development process from concept to consumer. Initially billed as a packaging show, its ideal location enabled expansion into many other facets of the beauty industry. This year, the event—which attracts interest from all facets of the beauty business—will be held from June 19-21.

“HBA Global is now known as a barometer of the industry. Industry professionals from all over the world attend the show to find out what is new and what is next for beauty and personal-care product development,” says Jill Birkett, brand director of beauty and wellness for UBM Live.

The event attracts more than 500 exhibitors and educational partners, and upwards of 16,000 attendees from a wide variety of beauty and personal-care brands and backgrounds. Exhibitors represent the entire spectrum of product development, including sectors such as primary and secondary packaging, point-of-sale displays, raw materials, ingredients, private labeling, contract manufacturing, fragrance sampling and equipment. Retailer attendees have included household brands such as CVS, Sally Beauty, ULTA and Macy’s. The event also finds an audience with importers and distributors, as well as salon, spa, resort and medical-wellness center owners.

“There are other trade shows that are focused on a particular area of the product development cycle—packaging, ingredients, hair care, skin care, or safety and regulations—but HBA Global Expo and Conference is the only event to showcase and discuss the entire product development process,” adds Birkett.

[All images courtesy of HBA Global Expo]

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Show organizers say retailers who attend benefit in a number of ways. “HBA Global does provide beauty retailers with an inside look at what is happening in the cosmetic, fragrance, personal-care, skincare and wellness industries. They can get up-to-date information on the latest trends and new products as well as expert advice on marketing and branding strategies, new channels of distribution and how to successfully reach all types of consumers,” says Birkett.

Trend exploration is a strength for the HBA show, says Birkett. In the past, the show has been an incubator for the birth and growth of many industry-transforming products and business practices. “Since it is the gathering place for the entire beauty and personal-care industry, future trends and technologies are launched at the event. Hot products in the past have been nano-technology, high-performance ingredients, click-pens, vegetable-based soaps, testing labs and analytical devices, as well as airless pumps, to name a few,” adds Birkett.

This year promises to offer even more relevant industry insider information. Birkett believes a number of topics will receive increased exposure this year, including discussions on antiaging advances and skincare advances; the latest in natural, organic and sustainable cosmetics and personal-care products; green chemistry; consumer purchasing trends; educating customers on safe cosmetics; and complying with the latest regulatory rules. “HBA Global also led the way in elevating the discussion of harvesting palm oil responsibly,” she adds.

Here’s a look at other components of the show that can be of specific interest to beauty retailers.


Along with the trade show floor, HBA Global offers a comprehensive three-day educational program discussing beauty trends, market movements and technical approaches. Its strong educational emphasis sets it apart from other business shows and furthers its reputation as a trendsetter.

“HBA Global’s conference program offers world-class education that helps bring new products and innovative concepts to market and provides the attendee with the resources, techniques and skills to assist in profitable business decisions. Attendees come away inspired and ready to make their beauty and personal-care brand or business a success,” says Birkett.

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Courtesy of HBA Global Expo

This year, the event will touch on a variety of topics, including beauty business at the retail level. Among them, sessions will be offered on updating the in-store shopping experience, as well as exploring new perspectives on beauty retailing. Others will delve into trends that are impacting the entire industry, such as leveraging social media to solidify a brand, looking at the cultural shift toward sustainable products and business practices, and the growing male beauty and personal-care market. It is also a place to learn more about the innovations behind today’s popular beauty products, such as the new ingredients in skin care or the latest haircare technologies. New session formats will also be presented that are aimed at providing an interactive learning experience as well as increased networking opportunities. These new formats will include group discussions, roundtables, brainstorming sessions and question-and-answer time.


Also new this year is the SPLASH Pavilion, an area of the exhibit floor featuring unique product offerings from all over the world. These finished goods have been juried by an elite panel of retailers, beauty bloggers, brand experts and entrepreneurs. Organizers believe that the pavilion will serve as a springboard for emerging brands and independent companies, says Birkett, “boosting the visibility and image of a new generation of cosmetics, skin care, fragrance, nail, hair and personal-care products.”

Brands that applied to participate agreed to testing and review by the SPLASH jury. The products that will be featured at the event have been in retail stores for fewer than two years. In addition, they have an interesting development or back story, offer new solutions, or fulfill a unique need in the marketplace. Brand participation is limited and the brands selected to participate will receive free media promotion, as well as other show-related benefits.

“With 57% of the HBA audience specifically looking for finished products, the SPLASH Pavilion will be a wellspring of innovation and activity this June at HBA Global,” says Birkett.

SPLASH joins other innovation pavilions at the show, including one that showcases the latest products and trends in sustainability, as well as other hot-product development areas, says Birkett. Each area will be showcased in a group with industry-leading anchor suppliers and content presentations.

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Private Label

Perhaps your store’s strategy includes launching a line of store-branded goods. To realize this goal, retailers usually turn to the expertise of private-label manufacturers who can provide turnkey products that are sold under a store, salon or spa’s name.

The HBA show provides a good starting point for retailers who are interested in developing and distributing a private-label line. The show includes exhibitors from the private-labeling and contract-manufacturing industries.

Furthermore, private-label buyers who take advantage of the educational component of the show learn the latest information on business development and growth opportunities in the private-label market.

“Those interested in private label can learn about branding strategies, advanced formulations and best practices on how to interface with private-label suppliers to achieve maximum results,” says Birkett.
Spa Market

Co-located with HBA Global, the Spa & Resort/Medical Aesthetics Expo, running June 19-20, presents another educational opportunity for retailers.

HBA Global badges enable access to the Spa & Resort/Medical Aesthetics Expo, which features exhibitors from leading skincare, equipment and treatment companies. It will also present two full days of educational content and demonstrations in its show floor theater.

The educational topics are relevant to spa owners, as well as retailers with a strong spa component to their business models. Topic titles include Marketing Your Spa; Reflexology; Maximizing Digital Media Outreach; and Skincare and Noninvasive Procedures.

“With the co-located Spa & Resort/Medical Aesthetics Expo, HBA’s Global beauty week truly provides a 360° view of the entire product-development cycle. All under one roof, in the beauty capital of the world, HBA is the leading event that facilitates commerce, education and networking,” says Birkett.

Leah Genuario is a Hawthorne, NJ-based freelance writer. She is the former editor of Beauty Packaging.