Mary Kay chases increasing Indian cosmetic spend

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Mary kay Direct sales Cosmetics

Global direct sales player Mary Kay is making a $20m investment in
the Indian market for cosmetics and personal care products in an
attempt to tap into fast-growing sales in this rapidly evolving
market.

The US-based company, one of the leading players in the global direct sales market, has made its headqurters in Gugaron, near New Delhi, bringing the company's total number of global markets to 32.

As well as other Asian markets such as China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Korea, the company has made a concerted effort to increase its presence in emerging markets in recent years, in particular by focusing in on the Central and Eastern European market.

The company believes it will be able to tap into a similar level of success already enjoyed in other Asian markets, where growth rates have generally exceeded other established international markets.

"We now have more than 350,000 Mary Kay independent beauty consultants in the region," said K.K. Chua, president of Mary Kay Asia-Pacific.

In 2006 the company had total sales of $2.25bn, of which the China market is currently the biggest sales driver in the Asia-Pacific region.

Indeed this market has seen particularly strong growth since the market for direct sales was re-opened by the Chinese goverment in 2005.

However, now it is the Indian market that the company is focusing on, having launched its operations with a first phase that will concentrate on the highly populated New Delhi, Chandigarh and Ludhiana areas.

The expansion will continue across the country during the course of the next five years, with the operations being headed up by country manager Hina Nagarajan, who has previously held executive positions with Nestle India and ICI Paint.

Nagarajin commented that the entrepreneurial spirit of Indian women should combine well with the business philosophy that has helped to develop Mary Kay into a worldwide leader in direct sales of cosmetic products.

The company is initially launching 60 skin care and color cosmetics products on the market for the first stage of the roll-out, with additional launches planned throughout 2008.

Mary Kay is chasing a marketing that is also becoming more and more sophisticated as it continues to grow, with areas outside of the big cities now rapidly catching on to western style personal care habits, in turn increasing the overall spend.

A recent report by market researchers Kline & Company indicates that the market for cosmetics and personal care products grew by 12.6 percent in 2006, driven particularly by increased sales of anti-aging and skin whitening products.

In particular the report highlighted strong growth for the skin care category in India, backing findings about the growth of anti-aging and skin whitening products last year.

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