The French cosmetics giant’s Research division opened its evaluation centre in Russia in 2012, joining the other 15 centres based on every continent; and has reiterated its focus on unlocking the market’s potential.
“As new populations are gaining access to cosmetic treatments every day, the almost infinite diversity of types of beauty is both a challenge and an asset,” says in its ‘Heading to Russia’ study.
According to Euromonitor, Russia is the largest country in the world and the most populated country in Europe with 143 million inhabitants in 2013.
It is also the geopolitical and ethno-cultural bridge between Europe and Asia, reflecting Eurasian diversity.
In terms of socio-economic profile, L’Oréal draws upon BMS and Euromonitor data to explain that the Russian population is divided into three distinct groups:
- 40 million middle class – Russians with a similar mindset to the rest of Central Europe
- 2 million ‘New Russians’ – rather ostentatious lifestyle and consumption of luxury goods
- Disadvantaged classes whose consumption patterns are comparable to those of poor Asians
In terms of potential in the market, the cosmetics maker highlights the quest for youth, natural beauty, and combining different paths of beauty as avenues worth exploring.
In Russia, make-up is used as a means to draw attention and be liked by others, as well as a way of emphasizing personality, and differentiating from others.
In Russia, L’Oréal claims that youthful beauty is a form of social currency for Russian women as expectations are high, and make-up is seen as an essential step as part of a perfect look.
“The wrinkles issue is the number one opportunity, with on average 63% of women being concerned (covering all age brackets: 16-65). 77% on average use at least one cosmetic solution to deal with this issue,” says the make-up manufacturer.
In terms of practices and beliefs, there is a great divide between healthy and natural strategies and transformation strategies.
Beauty care products containing natural ingredients lead the market. Products initially began including herbal ingredients but natural ingredients are now being developed and their scope is expanding with mineral cosmetics and oil.
Early adopters in Russia tend to position themselves more in the transformation strategies category (surgery, etc).
According to digital advertising company MacCann Erickson, combining different paths of beauty are also popular, such as oral products for hair or nail improvement, as well as home remedies for face and body.