APAC acceleration: Luxury brand Rituals outlines plans to expand footprint with strong focus on China

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Rituals outlines plans to expand footprint with strong focus on China

Related tags China

Rituals Cosmetics is working to grow its presence in Asia Pacific, especially in China, after being delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The international luxury beauty and home company made its debut in the region just a couple of years ago, focusing on China, Hong Kong and Macau.

“Rituals is still a relative newcomer to APAC, having entered the region in early 2019 with four stand-alone stores in the Hong Kong local market, six travel retail stores in Hong Kong and Macau and e-commerce business in China,”​ said Neil Ebbutt, director global travel retail.

Since its launch, Rituals has steadily expanded its presence in APAC. However, its plans were derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the other hand, the amplified focus on wellness triggered by the pandemic, helped to increase the demand for its products.

“The increased consumer focus on personal wellbeing and desire to create a relaxing sanctuary at home greatly benefitted our product offering which resonated with consumers,”​ said Ebbutt.

He highlighted that the brand’s stores in Hong Kong managed to deliver “an exceptional performance” ​from the second quarter onwards.

This year, the Amsterdam-headquartered company is proceeding with its expansion plans.

“Our expansion plans for 2020 were somewhat hampered by the pandemic, however, we will accelerate those plans this year. So far in 2021, we have opened one store in Hong Kong, with two more to follow in the latter part of the year. We are confident about our branding strategy and are on track to achieve our goal of opening more stores in Hong Kong in the next few years,”​ said Ebbutt.

He highlighted that the company will be focusing greatly on expanding the business in China, with a focus on travel retail this year.

“Greater China will be a key focus for us in the coming year… we are very proud to announce the opening of three travel retail stores in Hainan in Q3 and Q4 of 2021. Travel Retail is the pioneer for Mainland China as these will be our first physical stores in the country, followed by a domestic presence in 2022.”

The company is also considering expansion opportunities beyond China.

“We have existing duty-free stores in Hong Kong, Macau and an online duty free business in South Korea so will look to leverage this presence – particularly our established presence in Hong Kong – to serve as a base for expansion in Mainland China and South East Asia.”

Focus on home fragrances

Rituals has an expansive product line-up which includes body care, scented candles, fragrance sticks, and skin care.

The company told CosmeticsDesign-Asia​ that it will be focusing strongly on its home collection in APAC moving forward as the company has recorded particularly strong results in the home category.

Since being introduced to Greater China and South Korea in 2019, our home collection has resonated strongly with duty-free consumers who have been looking to improve the comfort of their homes with products that promote a tranquil environment,” ​said Ebbutt.

Additionally, with China’s animal testing policy, the company has focused on home products in the market.

“In addition to travel retail, the home category has performed very well on China e-commerce channels such as Tmall and WeChat and in the Hong Kong local market, where it accounts for 50% of all our sales,” ​said Ebbutt.

The company will be relaunching the candles and fragrance sticks, featuring new attractive designs and more sustainable packaging that can easily be recycled.

“The main focus of our Classic Collection relaunch was to improve the appeal of the collection through an attractive new design and sustainable updates that ensure our products have a minimal environmental impact,”​ said Niki Schilling, director of innovation and sustainability.

These improvements include the introduction of all-glass fragrance stick bottles which are fully recyclable and refill bottles that are now completely transparent.

“In addition to reducing coating, this change makes it easier to recycle the bottle with the right glass colour,”​ elaborated Schilling.

Furthermore, the brand has also made sustainable improvements to its gift carton, including a closure now made from cardboard which reduces the CO2 footprint of the gift pack.

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