The consumer goods multinational, whose brands include Axe and Dove, says it hopes for 10–15% of its growth over the next 15–20 years to come from the region, and is looking to invest a reported total of €60-100 million over the period.
“We are investing more [in the region] than what the company in total is investing,” Paul Polman, Unilever’s global chief executive, says.
The MENA area is emerging as a new focal point for the industry, with Euromonitor International analysts recently picking it out as a key emerging region for upcoming growth.
The firm’s new research pinpoints it as one region which has not let up with growth, despite the slight global slowdown of the beauty and personal care market in the last year from 5.8% to 5.4%.
Beauty in the region is “relatively a smaller market in comparison to some of the other regional markets, but it’s been recording strong growth and it has not slowed down,” Mohiuddin, senior beauty and personal care market analyst, told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com.
Indeed, according to the organizers of the Beautyworld Middle East event, personal care isn’t the only sector expecting a boom - the colour cosmetics market in the region is predicted to reach $2.3bn this year.
In particular, this growth is expected to be attributed to the United Arab Emirates, where it is estimated that women spend more on average than their counterparts in the UK and France, a fact that underlines the importance of this small but wealthy market.
High average incomes also mean that premium beauty products are considered to be an affordable luxury by women, which is in turn helping to boost the category’s growth, particularly in terms of value.
Unilever in the region
Unilever have already made moves towards the investment goals, evidenced in the recent opening of a new factory in Dubai, which followed a parallel move by Japan beauty giant Shiseido to base itself in the city.
Unilever is also bringing counterfeited products under scrutiny, as it is a key problem for the manufacturer in the region: according to Gulf news report, over 90% of Unilever’s products are counterfeited, with personal care products among those topping the list.