Asia Pacific – A rich diversity

Asia Pacific is one of the world's most diverse C&T markets with a wide range of preferences and budgets. Indonesia is dominated by multinationals and cottage industry brands, while consumers in the Philippines are opting for personal care in sachets and small packs. Japan's cosmetics market is slowly getting back on track, in contrast to Singapore, whose residents are feeling the pinch of economic gloom. In Australia, meanwhile, higher costs and reduced consumer demand are squeezing profits

The diverse markets of the Asia Pacific offer brands great opportunities, according to Mini Pant Zachariah, Julian Ryall, Barbara Bierach and Mark Rowe

If there is one word that sums up the personal care product markets of Asia, it is probably ‘diversity’. Perhaps nowhere else in the world is there such a rich mixture of consumer preferences and budgets, not to mention so many dynamic economies with huge growth rates. Set that against the vast populations in markets such as China, India and Indonesia and it is no surprise that Asia is the key market today for personal care product companies.

Parchute is the flagship hair oil brand for Marico – hair care is one of India’s strongest sectors

India of course is a critical part of any international group’s strategy. With a current growth rate of 13% per annum, India’s personal care product market is one of the fastest growing in the region. It was valued at $8.6bn in 2010 and is expected to reach $20.23bn by 2017, according to data from Gyan Research and Analytics released in May 2012.

And this growth is not a flash in the pan. The Indian colour cosmetics and skin care markets recorded a growth rate of 20% in 2010 for instance, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) figures show.

A key growth area in India is long lasting colour cosmetics targeting working females, which this year saw the launch of a range of new products from Lakmé, Oriflame and Avon. Several international brands, – MAC Cosmetics, L’Oréal, Chanel, Givenchy, Versace and The Body Shop – have entered an Indian market thus far dominated by mass market products from Hindustan Unilever and to a lesser extent by Procter & Gamble, as well as Indian owned ITC, Marico, Emami and others.

Indeed, with this market being far from mature there is room for local brands to grow. Prashant Pinge, a consultant at Mumbai based branding firm Media Panther, tells SPC: “It is time for Indian personal care product companies to invest in R&D for domestic and global expansion.”

Indian Home and Personal Care Industry Association (IHPCIA) founder director Dr B.R. Gaikwad says: “Irrespective of what happens to the economy, India’s personal care products market holds a bright future because of its young population, rising disposable income and awareness about personal care and hygiene, in urban as well as rural areas.”

Meanwhile the potential of India’s new but growing male grooming products market, estimated today at INR3bn ($55m) for hair care and INR4bn ($73m) for deodorants, is becoming clearer. It inspired India’s Marico, with its flagship hair oil brand Parachute, to acquire the personal care portfolio of Paras Pharmaceuticals, which includes brands such as Livon, Set Wet and Zatak from British consumer goods maker Reckitt Benckiser in early 2012.

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