Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 861 million people, and reported a combined GDP of US$1,268 billion (€950.10 million) in 2012 which, despite some notable challenges is benefitting from its wealth of natural resources, a new era of stability, inward investment and economic development.
Euromonitor says the region's total populace is set to exceed 1 billion by 2019, more than Europe and Australasia combined and is feeding through to improving living standards and growing consumer expenditure.
"This is laying the foundations for an increasingly important consumer market and with it huge opportunities for companies with the right goods and services and an appropriate strategy. As in all emerging markets, a one-size-fits-all policy will not work," says the market researcher's analysts.
Adapted strategies for maximum success
In order to cater to the diverse range of economies and consumer markets in the complex and challenging region, Euromonitor advises that cosmetic strategies need to be adapted to suit local preferences in order to be successful.
One of the biggest advantages Africa holds is its young and growing demographic profile, particularly important in the context of global ageing. "70 per cent of the population of Sub-Saharan Africa is under the age of 30 in 2013."
African consumers are diverse but key trends include a rising middle class searching for convenience, while still strongly connected to their traditional roots and the increasingly connected young African interested in brands and status.
L'Oreal is already investing in the region
Despite performing ahead of the market and expanding its operations to compete in Asia-Pacific and Central and Latin America, L’Oréal turned its attention to Sub-Saharan Africa earlier in the year.
The French firm announced it was shifting its focus towards Africa due to growth prospects by further investing in an already established R&D centre dedicated to the region's beauty needs and a goal to further expand its brand portfolio along ethnic lines.
The beauty behemoth already has a presence in Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia; however, as the beauty needs in this region derive from two distinct ethnic groups whose skin tones and hair types vary widely, these require different R&D technologies.