The global economic slowdown has seen many consumers in North America and Europe trade down to less sophisticated and lower cost products, which is doing little to fuel demand for innovation.
However, the global economic woes have had little effect on economic growth in Asia, with many countries, including the huge China market, continuing to post annual beauty industry growth rates at well into double digit figures.
One of the most significant categories for growth and innovation in the region has been skin care, which has continued to see a steady stream of increasingly sophisticated and functional finished products.
Skin whitening and BB creams
Throughout this region the two main driving forces behind this growth have been the continued evolution of the skin whitening and BB cream categories – trends that have been mirrored globally.
The evolution of the skin whitening trend in Asia has seen it evolve into other sub-categories, including brightening, and has also been picked up in the European and North American markets.
However, skin whitening is now being overshadowed by the massive popularity of BB creams, which started in Asia just a few years ago, but has now become a huge international phenomenon, as women around the world cry out for a ‘miracle’ product with claims as diverse as smoothing, nourishing, and illuminating.
The evolution of this category has also seen the emergence of CC creams – which additionally incorporate anti-ageing properties, and more recently DD creams, which, rather than target the face, have been designed for the feet and body.
Although these creams are evolving with different product claims in the East and West, it is interesting to see that despite the trend beginning in Asia, the number of product launches for this category is now being matched on both sides of the globe.
Electronic devices combined with product formulations
Another trend that has really taken off in Asia before it has made any significant impact in the West is electronic cosmetic devices. Markets such as China, Japan and Korea are leading the way in the development of this category, and are fast catching on to the latest development - devices that combine with product formulations.
Asian sourced ingredients are also having an influence on formulations globally, with an increasing number of Chinese herbal and medicinal ingredients creeping into natural-based products. One ingredient company that has grown significantly off the back of this trend is Nanjing-based Fenchem, which is exhibiting at this week's in-cosmetics event, in Paris.
Celebrated as the one of the biggest event's in the industry's calendar, for those attending the show this week it would be interesting to bear this trend in mind as it might open your eyes to more Asian innovation than you may have ever expected.