The beauty and personal care industry in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, valuing at US$15.9 billion, is poised to grow twice as faster than the rest of the world with a staggering compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.5 per cent in the next three years while the global industry, which is worth US$444 billion, is estimated to grow at 4.2 per cent per annum.
These findings were revealed in the Millennial Capital’s latest MENA Beauty Care Report citing reasons of high spending per capita, affordable prices, strong consumer confidence, high literacy rates, young population with a high social media exposure and on top of that new entrants with the aim to fill the gap in the “masstige category”. Headquartered in Dubai, Millennial Capital Ltd. is an emerging venture capital firm specialising in developing partnerships with global brands in the consumer, retail and wellness sector which target to enter or operate in the GCC market.
Among the key categories that contribute most of the beauty and personal care market size are Skincare, Haircare, Colour Cosmetics, Fragrances and Men’s Grooming. Globally, the Skincare category dominates the market and as a brand, L'Oréal Group captures the largest market share. Contrary to global trends, Fragrances is the most loved category in the MENA region. The same is evident from the fact that two local brands, Arabian Oud and Al Qurashi, control over 20% of the market share due to their appeal to the local masses and cultural significance.
While Saudi Arabia retains the highest market share of 33.2% in the MENA region, the UAE stands higher in terms of spendingper capita at US$239. Despite the fact that UAE constitutes only 2% of the MENA population, the high spending per capita is a result of the strong consumer confidence, high literacy rates and predominantly young population with a high social media exposure.
There is great opportunity for new players with the right value proposition to step in and gain market share weighing on the gradually shifting consumer focus to quality products that not just pamper and protect, but also pay attention to cleaner and more organic ingredients, along with personalised offerings so that wider audiences can love and appreciate them just as much, according to the report. All of this, with an affordable price point has enabled new entrants like O Boticário, KIKO Milano and Benefit Cosmetics to lure the millennial consumer away from luxury tags, it added.
“In the age of beauty ‘retailment’ with consumer preferences shifting from being product-based to experience-based, by having alchemy and innovation in its DNA, brands such as O Boticário bring to Dubai an unprecedented emphasis on quality and retail innovation, offering customers an experience complete with interactive shopping content, products that narrate stories combined with the latest retail technologies, such as the LED screens inside the store which enable customers to get to know the stories behind the products when they lift the product from its display,” said Andreea Danila, Founder & Managing Director at Millennial Capital Ltd.
Millennial Capital joined hands with Brazil’s O Boticário Group to introduce the largest cosmetics franchised network in UAE with the opening of two flagship stores in Dubai Mall and Mirdif City Center. The brand received an overwhelmingresponse since the opening of the store in Dubai and its preparing for Saudi Arabia regional market expansion.
“With 33% of global consumers citing brand sustainability as a key deciding factor in their product choices according to Unilever, there is an untappedpotential of US$1.1 billion for cleaner and sustainable brands in the market. O Boticário has been a pioneer in the research on alternative methods of product testing such as 3D skin instead of animal testing. The brand invests 1% of revenues in forest conservation, and have reduced their electricity consumption by 70%, leading to a saving of 3,000 tonnes of CO2 annually,Kanchan Khemani, Senior Investment Analyst at Millennial Capitalsaid.
Internet penetration in the Middle East has outpaced the world average of 51.7%, with the largest markets boasting over 90% penetration, thereby having a tremendous influence on consumers aged 18-24. Being avid smartphone users, today’s millennial is more comfortable going to the e-tailer citing lower prices, personalised offerings, and flexible payment methods as factors driving their preference.
Despite the high Middle East social media usage at 38% of total population and average internet penetration of 60%, only 15% of retailers in the Middle East maintain an online presence, hence losing out on the 56% shoppers who purchase products online throughtheir smartphones. It is interesting to note that Health and Beauty sales contribute 48% of the Middle East’s online sales.