Could India be the new empire for global beauty players? According to Euromonitor International, the retail value sales at fixed 2022 exchange rates of India’s beauty and personal care market is expected to grow from $15.8 billion in 2022 to $23.7 billion by 2027, reflecting an increase of 51%.
Luxury brands have not waited long to turn their attention to India. More recently, global beauty giant L’Oréal re-established Lancôme, the flagship brand of its luxury division, in the Indian market. Prior to this, Lancôme had tried its hand at the Indian market, but low demand for luxury products forced it to retreat. L’Oréal India’s ambition is to see its business become worth a billion euros within three to five years, with a growth rate twice that of the Indian beauty market.
The Japanese cosmetics group Shiseido introduced its Nars brand to local beauty shops in India last year. Less luxury, but more premium, The Body Shop, has also been multiplying its store openings in the country, where it has been present since 2006 via 200 outlets. Their aim is to open around thirty stores each year.
India, like South-East Asia, is made up of a highly diversified market ecosystem, making it a complex market to navigate. A new generation of brands is leading the ayurvedic way: Inde Wild, Ranavat, Forest Essentials and Fable & Mane all tap into the ayurvedic philosophy and prioritise wellbeing and lifestyle. At the heart of their offering is making Indian traditions more universally approachable, which also reflects the multicultural background of their founders, many of whom are of Indian origin but are based overseas.
Customer loyalty towards ayurvedic brands is strong, as those who understand and adopt this philosophy make it less of a fad and incorporating this into their lifestyle. In September 2022, fashion and beauty company Puig acquired a stake in Kama Ayurveda. Founded in 2002, Kama Ayurveda is an ayurvedic brand that specializes in traditional Indian medical practices and is located in the beauty, wellness and personal care market segments. Puig plans to support the brand with its journey to global expansion. They opened their UK store earlier Notting Hill, London. The two-storey store features two treatment rooms where clients can try their signature facials and head massage, with a floor dedicated to tea and a tridoshic (balancing all three doshas) menu. Forest Essentials, founded more than two decades ago in New Delhi by Mira Kulkarni, is also prioritising global reach for its ayurvedic background. The brand, trades in over 140 own stores in India and sells through retailers including Sephora. In November 2022, Forest Essentials opened its first physical store in London and has also expanded their e-commerce platform to the UK.
There has been a cultural shift towards an interest in stylised grooming and appearance, which has been attributed to the rising exposure of beauty trends across social media and in particular TikTok. Consumers now have heightened expectations of the market, themselves, and the products they consume. The demand for natural and organic beauty products has also seen an increase. Bloggers and influencers play a pivotal part in what consumers use and buy. Many have turned into Tik Tok sensations, entrepreneurs and brand founders. What sets them apart is their multifaceted approach — they not only share beauty tips but also delve into topics like ayurveda, fashion, culture, travel and more, all whilst infusing humour and credibility into their content.
It’s no doubt that the Gen Z generation is leading the charge in reshaping the beauty landscape, embracing trends that reflect their desire for self-expression and elevated self-care. From the influence of K-Pop and counterculture movements like ‘Barbiecore’ to the growing interest in Indian-inspired products, the dominant beauty trends going forward are driven by the preferences and demands of this dynamic consumer segment.
The Indian Gen Z consumers have shown a deep interest in beauty that stems from their Indian roots. Traditional ingredients and practices are making a strong comeback in the beauty industry. Brands are paying homage to Indian culture by infusing their products with ingredients like bakuchiol, passion fruit, turmeric, neem, and sandalwood, appealing to Gen Z’s desire for authentic, culturally rich beauty experiences.
India is a growing market and things are taking a positive turn if you are looking to enter a new market it’s vital to understand your position in the marketplace as well as understanding the cultural nuances.
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