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Tech & Business


Cosmetics, a booming market in the Middle East

The cosmetics industry is on the rise in the region, where major global brands compete with local designers.

In the Middle East, taking care of one’s body has always been deeply rooted in the culture, for both men and women. With the region’s opening to international brands, major cosmetic groupes have understood the economic challenge that this area represents. They are very attentive to local trends and demand and adapt step by step to the oriental market, which is very specific and demanding.

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An economically booming sector

In 2017, the beauty sector was estimated at nearly $ 30 billion in the Middle East region, which represents 6% of the global market. In this area, the Emiratis spend the most per capita, thus ranking the ninth country spending the more in cosmetics worldwide. And the figures scroll, all very promising, such as the Saudi’s market growth of 54% in 2017, expected to keep increasing to 60% in 2020.

Even though it represents a golden opportunity for major international brands, competition with local brands is tough. And big names such as L’Oreal, Shiseido and LVMH are not relax as they are facing players like Arabian Oud, whose sales have grown by 170% between 2010 and 2015, becoming the 5th best-selling brand in the region. Thanks to their popularity, but also knowing the market and local practices better, they inspire confidence among the population and outpace their competitors.

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Skincare products shade makeup and cosmetic surgery

Until very recently, spending on cosmetics was mainly focused on make-up. The Middle East population dedicate, in fact, 60% of its beauty budget for perfume, 30% for makeup and only 10% for skincare products. However, the trend is reversing, which is even confirmed by plastic surgery clinics. These observe a clear decrease in the demand for heavy and expansive operations, patients preferring today smaller interventions at lower cost and less impact for the body. In addition, the skincare and hair care ranges are the most popular in the Middle East and North Africa and this is not going to change, with growth estimated at 16% by 2020.

If the cosmetic sector is so flourishing in the Middle East, that’s because of the base of local consumers with high incomes, allowing them to buy such luxury goods, especially in the Gulf countries. The growing number of tourists is also contributing to the economic health of the market and rapid urbanization added to the many malls play a significant role in the dynamics at work.

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Published on 16 August 2018