With global per capita spending of $15 on skin care in 2013, compared to $11 on hair care and just $7 spent on color cosmetics (on average), skin care remains the category in which consumers are most willing to spend. And Asia-Pacific, traditionally one of the lowest spending regions in beauty, accounts for over half of skin care’s revenue. While trends tend to originate in the West and migrate East in other beauty categories, in skin care, the East’s strong influence on skin care has made it the source of global skin care trends that are reshaping the market.
White—The Color of the Season in Skin Care
The ongoing high demand for whitening/lightening products in Asia-Pacific has filtered down into other regions, including Latin America, the Middle East and Africa. In Mexico, for example, more than one-third of facial moisturizers sold in 2013 featured lightening ingredients.
While whitening ingredients are now included in a variety of facial skin care products, from acne treatments and face masks to toners, this functionality continues to be strongest in facial moisturizers, accounting for more than half of global whitening value sales in 2013 (consumers looking for a lighter complexion often prefer a cream or serum treatment). Dark spots, uneven skin tone and sun damage are expected to continue to dominate Asian consumers’ skin concerns, and those concerns are gaining momentum in Western Europe and North America.
As a result, a variety of international brands that first made inroads with whitening skin care lines for Asian consumers are now launching them globally. The popularity of these products has led to whitening claims and properties filtering down into other categories—with whitening body care products, hand creams, deodorants and even sun care hitting the shelves. In fact, the boost seen in after-sun care in Asia-Pacific 2008–2013 can be partly attributed to whitening after-sun treatments.
Beyond Asia-Pacific, in Brazil, Unilever has launched Dove Dermo Aclarant Deodorant, which lightens and moisturizes the skin.
Asia Shakes Up the Field
Asia-Pacific’s influence in skin care is most strongly felt in terms of innovation. While Western culture and fashion have had a strong impact on the region, in beauty, big internationals are getting squeezed by local and regional players. Traditional Chinese medicine brands like Inoherb and Herborist, skin care products using natural herbs, are increasingly appealing to consumers of all ages.
Furthermore, the South Korean wave, which has been boosted through the popularity of its celebrities across Asia-Pacific and globally through its pop culture, has helped South Korean brands expand beyond their home market. Both Amore Pacific and LG Household & Health Care Ltd. have been gaining ground globally, with revenues reaching $1.8 billion and $1.3 billion respectively in 2013, more than double their 2008 revenues. The companies position their brands in both the premium and mass segments. Many of their brands are now available through drugstores in the U.S., with expansion expected to continue through to Europe.
With Asia-Pacific being at the forefront of all types of skin care innovation, whether in terms of application (air cushions), category (segmentation in face masks) or formulation (fermented ingredients), future growth in the skin care category, even in Western markets, is expected to be driven by consumer preferences in this region.
Whitening Influencing the Entire Category
While trends tend to originate in the West and migrate East in other beauty categories, the East’s strong influence on skin care has made it the source of global skin care trends that are reshaping the market.
While whitening ingredients are now included in a variety of facial skin care products, from acne treatments and face masks to toners, this functionality continues to be strongest in facial moisturizers, accounting for more than half of global whitening value sales in 2013.
The popularity of whitening products is filtering down into other categories, with whitening body care products, hand creams, deodorants and even sun care offerings hitting the shelves.
Editor’s note: To read this full market report, see the October 2014 issue of GCI magazine or visit www.GCImagazine.com.