Regional expert: Watsons reveals strategy for success in ‘vibrant’ Middle East skin care category

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Watsons says positioning itself as a ‘skin care expert’ is key to achieving success in the Middle East market. [Watsons]
Watsons says positioning itself as a ‘skin care expert’ is key to achieving success in the Middle East market. [Watsons]

Related tags watsons A.S. Watson Middle east Skin care

Health and beauty retailer Watsons says positioning itself as a ‘skin care expert’ is key to achieving success in the Middle East market.

Watsons is a leading health and beauty retailer in Asia operated by Hong Kong-based A.S. Watson Group, which operates over 16,300 stores split between 12 retail brands in 29 markets.

In 2020, A.S. Watson inked a franchise deal with Dubai-based conglomerate, The Al-Futtiam Group, to expand its flagship brand Watsons into the Middle East region.

At the beginning of this year, the retailer announced it has expanded its retail footprint in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region by launching its first flagship outlet in Doha, Qatar.

This new 3,000 sqft store brings Watson’s total number of stores in the GCC region to six, including two stores in the United Arab Emirates and one in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“Watsons signed a franchise agreement with Al-Futtaim in early 2020 with the vision to bring fashionable and affordable beauty and lifestyle products to customers in the GCC region. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic interruption, these stores were opened in less than 24 months,”​ said Jonathan Watts, General Manager of Watsons GCC.

Watsons’, which operates over 8,000 stores in several Asian and European markets, had previously said​ it plans to have established 100 Watsons stores in the region by 2025.

By launching in the “vibrant and unique”​ Qatar market, the company is laying the groundwork to position itself as the “skin expert” ​for the beauty enthusiasts in the region, where the demand for skin care is accelerating.

“The Middle East has a huge potential health and beauty market with skin care category being one of the fastest-growing beauty categories. Before Watsons’ entry into the market, there was no health and beauty retailer with the breadth of skin care expertise that we can offer,” ​said he told CosmeticsDesign-Asia.

Over 200 exclusive brands

The retailer is bringing over 200 international make-up, skin care and haircare brands into the market. Almost half of its brands will be exclusively available via Watsons stores in the region.

Some of the exclusive skin care brands include K-beauty brands Dewytree and Leaders, as well as Target Pro by Watsons.

“Customers in the region want high quality and trendy international beauty products and that’s why we step in to meet the surging customer demand and offer a wide selection of beauty brands from all round the world,”​ said Watts.

For 2022, Watsons will continue to expand in the region to meet its target of opening 100 stores by 2025. Additionally, the firm will be working to bring its signature offline plus online shopping model experience to the region.

“The excitement is overwhelming as customers have been eagerly waiting for Watsons to expand across the GCC via our O+O retail model, allowing beauty lovers of all generations to shop offline and online,” ​said Watts.

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