Recent research shows the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) to be one of the fastest growing markets in the world for the beauty and cosmetics industry. Rapid changes in the retail sector are showing an increasing emphasis on beauty and personal care products and are contributing towards developing the market.
Figures from Euromonitor International (EMI) for 2016, put the retail value of the beauty and personal care market value at US $9.3 billion, an increase of 10% over 2015 with strong growth expected over the next four years and looks set to increase to US $13.6billion by 2020.
Growth is especially strong in the UAE, where Consumers spent US$2.1 billion on beauty and personal care in 2016 according to EMI, with this set to rise to US$2.7 billion by 2020.
So what are the factors contributing to this growth?
Across the ME region growth is driven by a young and affluent population, where over half the population is under 25 and has greater access to western fashion and a beauty trends through traditional and social media. High rates of mobile phone usage has provided a platform for beauty influencers to gain popularity and encourage the consumer demand in beauty and makeup products. For the beauty industry this provides a ready audience which the major beauty product companies are keen to tap into.
Cultural changes, which have seen a relaxation of religious laws in some countries, have made it more acceptable for women to wear make-up. In, Saudi Arabia, the region’s biggest market, laws which had excluded women from working as beauty advisors have been relaxed, encouraging more women to venture into stores and explore the various beauty options. Sales of colour cosmetics in this market are expected to soar in the coming years, according to Euromonitor International.
The greater numbers of women in Saudi Arabia now entering the workforce translates into more disposable income available to spend on beauty and makeup products.” Since women are going outside the house every day, wearing color cosmetics on a daily basis is expected to become increasingly socially acceptable,” predicts Euromonitor.
The growth of social media has given rise to the phenomenon of influencers. People who have built up a huge following and are trusted for guidance and information on making purchasing descisions. Some have become household names; such as the Kardshians. Others like Nikki de Jager, Christen Dominique and Huda Katan are among those who started out offering mostly beauty and makeup advice and turned it into big business. They have become trusted icons and can have a significant influence on the type and number of products that a woman will purchase, and when they collaborate with big name brands they can turn a product into an instant hit.
The trend towards using Muslim brand ambassadors is helping to promote beauty and personal care as a daily routine in the region. In 2016 Nura Afia, an American beauty vlogger, was named as the first ever Muslim ambassador for Cover Girl cosmetics brand. She is, according to The Guardian, “one of the only women to appear in an advertising campaign for a major cosmetics player or fashion brand in the US while wearing a hijab.”
Throughout the region organic products have traditionally been perceived as the more effective and have now become more freely available through mainstream outlets at affordable levels. This combination of availability, value and the perception of better quality is another trend driving the growth of the beauty and cosmetics industry in the region.
These factors are combining to drive demand for beauty and cosmetics in the region and looks set become a significant market for the industry over the next few years.