The right choice: Retailer A.S. Watson sees P&G collaboration as opportunity to expand sustainable beauty offerings
The Hong Kong-based company has been strengthening its commitment to sustainability in the last couple of years.
In October, Watsons announced that it launched a Sustainable Choices range with over 1,600 products. This was in collaboration with leading global players including Beiersdorf, Kao, L’Oréal, Procter & Gamble (P&G), Shiseido and Unilever.
“We’ve been working closely with our strategic supplier partners to offer a wide range of Sustainable Choices products – everything from skin care to shampoo – making it easier for customers to make purchase decisions that contribute to a better world for all,” said Malina Ngai, CEO of A.S. Watson, Asia and Europe.
Sustainable Choices made its soft launch early this year and sales of some products soared by up to 300%, underscoring the importance of sustainability to consumers.
“As customers are now very much aware of the impact their choices have on the environment, more and more customers are looking for Sustainable Choices products,” said Ngai.
The retailer took another step forward in its sustainability journey recently by collaborating with Procter & Gamble (P&G) to co-create a new skin care brand, aio, with sustainability at the core of its development.
Watsons Hong Kong had previously partnered with P&G to launch Plastic Reborn, a territory-wide plastic container recycling campaign in February with the help of Hong Kong recycling firm The Loops.
However, its latest project with P&G allowed A.S. Watson to take the reins a bit and influence product development from start to finish.
The result was a Japan-made brand with fully recyclable packaging, making it eligible to be listed under Watsons’ Sustainable Choices product range.
“We wanted to co-create a brand that could best meet the needs of our customers as well as help them do good for the environment… Working with our strategic supplier partners in co-creation can offer more sustainable choices that contribute to a better world,” said Ngai.
“We are delighted to team up with A.S. Watson to learn together and co-design the aio proposition for the derm and wellness needs of the customers. This is the future of retailing and skin care,” added Markus Strobel, global president, P&G skin and personal care.
aio was developed with millennials and Gen Z’s in mind and aimed to further resonate with this younger demographic with a minimalist approach to skin care.
The brand launched with one SKU, the Super Essence, which was designed with busy consumers in mind. The product claims to maintain skin’s hydration and reduce overproduction of sebum to tackle issues like acne.
Targeting digitally native consumers, the companies expect the majority of the sales to be made on Watsons’ online platform, tapping into its offline plus online (O+O) ecosystem A.S. Watson has been pushing heavily.
aio has been launched in Hong Kong and Taiwan and the companies are keen to explore the possibility of expanding the brand into more markets in Asia, with the help of the insights from its O+O platform.