We spoke with Lois Berman, head of Research at Euromonitor, to discuss what is driving the beauty trends in the region and she tells us that it is a young dynamic population seeking products that offer specialised and tailored solutions that is the biggest influence.
“Social media savvy and open to new ideas, young people in these countries are becoming more aware of global brands than they have been in the past,” Lois tells CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com.
“As such, the internet and social media sites have become important tools for learning about and purchasing beauty and personal care products.”
In the region this means that it is in the more developed countries, such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE that most growth opportunities lie, as the population is often young and increasingly interested in fashionable new products.
“Heavy marketing campaigns and expanding distribution channels have created a strong demand for products that used to be outside the usage portfolio. This signals an opportunity for brands to fulfil specific needs, and meet expectations of certain consumer segments as a key differentiator,” explains Berman.
The segments which possess the best opportunities are in skin whitening, which has spread to many skin care categories; men’s grooming, particularly in Saudi Arabia; and in Halal beauty.
“The demand for these products is primarily driven by Arab, South Asian and East Asian expatriates, as lighter skin tones within these communities are often considered more beautiful than darker skin tones,” says Berman.
Regionally, the UAE in particular is witnessing a premiumisation trend, according to Lois, as consumers are increasingly looking for products designed to tackle specific problems or offer clearly defined benefits.
The industry is increasingly moving towards a concept of solution-oriented products, which usually feature a higher unit price than standard versions.
However, this is not the same for all countries in the Middle East and Africa, as with Egypt, where the majority of the population originate from low-income households, and spending on non-essential products has become quite limited.
“In Turkey, some new products took into account changing consumer lifestyles as a result of urbanisation, like time spent at home - as opposed to time spent at work – or the lack of time individuals progressively have in urban settings and lifestyles,” adds Berman.
“And although consumers might end up gravitating towards lower priced products, the quantity they consume does not go down.”
So it seems there is a good opportunity in the region for global and local brands alike, and it is actually global companies that dominate the beauty and personal care market in Middle East and Turkey, according to Euromonitor.
Both Procter & Gamble and Unilever have seen some success in these markets and there is a particular focus on mass beauty and personal care products.
However, in Iran, the situation is slightly different, as domestic suppliers like Paxan Co and Pakshoo Co are more active in basic products like bar soap and shampoos while multinationals prefer to expand their presence in more modern sectors like skin care where competition from cheap domestic brands is less severe and potential for growth is more obvious.