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Markets & trends

Cosmetics makers develop tailor-made products to appeal to women from emerging markets

Texture, shades, packaging: in order to appeal to beauties from emerging countries, cosmetic multinationals are adapting their products to local tastes. The investment can be highly profitable in a country like Brazil, where women use up to five beauty products per day.

For cosmetic giants such as L’Oréal, Unilever and Procter & Gamble, it is necessary to adapt products created in Europe or North America. "In order to address the needs and expectations of these new consumers, we need to adapt products especially in terms of colours and textures," explains Gaëlle de la Fosse, project manager at the Roland Berger consulting firm in Paris. "However, it is also necessary to find the right balance between the multiplication of the offer and the costs that it can generate," she adds.

L’Oréal recently announced a new investment program in Brazil, one of the world’s largest beauty markets - with the United States, Japan and China - whose size should double by 2025.

"Due to the enormous diversity of the Brazilian market, you have to evaluate, adapt and propose very different products. In Brazil, there are at least eight hair types," says Blaise Didillon, who manages L’Oréal’s R&D centre in Brazil. Besides the Brazilian preference for long hair, beauty brands must also take into account the hot and humid weather, as well as a high incidence of ultraviolet rays. A Brazilian woman uses 4.8 beauty products per day.

© AFP Photo / Nelson Alameida

© AFP Photo / Nelson Alameida

"Adapting products to the African or Asiana, is such a big challenge that it really pays off to have local facilities and local teams, but it also has a cost," says Gaëlle de la Fosse.

Using the biodiversity

"In markets where both the economy and the population are growing, which means more sales and more value it is much more efficient to adapt its products to regional needs," confirms Oru Mohiuddin, beauty industry analyst at London-based Euromonitor International.

"In the past, there were only shampoos or anti-aging basics, now the Latin American market is much more segmented with products such as hair care with conditioning agents," explains the expert.

These adaptive efforts also stand on the local biodiversity and resources, such as the babassu coconut, which widely used in haircare products made in Brazil. "The studies serve as a source of inspiration for other countries," said Blaise Didillon.

Thus, products which are manufactured locally, can be exported into similar geographical areas in the world, like some skin care products from French brands Vichy and La Roche Posay, created for Brazil and gradually sold in other countries.

According to Oru Mohiuddin, "building up a local knowledge” helps to “get access to ingredients and formulas that can also be used" in developed countries. One example is the multi-functional BB Cream, which was originally used in Asia and then won the European markets before coming to Latin America.

Retail innovations

The local adaptation strategy also includes "new ways to distribute products," said Gaëlle de la Fosse. The solution can be "smaller and cheaper packages", she says.

L’Oréal, which wants to increase the number of outlets where its products are sold in Brazil and thus support the modernization of local retail channels, tested several methods, including: small kiosks in big cities’ shopping centres for its Maybelline brand and "derma-centres" in pharmacies to offer skin care products with the support of a consultant to advise clients. Similar kiosks will be tested the brand’s subsidiaries in Mexico and Dubai.

Another challenge is that "in emerging countries, local brands fiercely compete with multinationals," says Oru Mohieddin, reminding the withdrawal of the Revlon and Garnier brands from the Chinese market. In Brazil, the top two brands in terms of market shares are national, Natura and Boticario, ahead of Unilever, L’Oreal and Avon.

In this context, Africa appears "a bit like the last frontier, still unexplored by beauty brands", Gaëlle de la Fosse highlights. "This market is growing at fast pace and has a huge potential, with over one billion consumers." Leading groups have made their first steps in the market. Unilever, for instance, created Motions, a hair care brand dedicated to African markets. However "the main difficulty is the continent’s diversity that counts more than 50 different countries,” states the analyst.

With AFP/Relaxnews

© 2014 - Brazil Beauty News -

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