UAE consumers among top spenders in cosmetics, personal care globally

Market to be worth $35.9B in 2018, will continue to grow at CAGR of nearly 10% over next 4 years

An increased focus on natural skincare treatments, non-invasive beauty procedures and the growing influence of beauty and lifestyle bloggers has contributed to a steady growth in the UAE’s beauty sector, experts say.

According to Euromonitor International, it is estimated that the retail value of the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region’s beauty and personal care market will be worth $35.9 billion in 2018, and will continue to grow at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 10 per cent over the next four years.

Consumers in the UAE spent $247 per capita on cosmetics and personal care, more than any other country in the Middle East, and ninth worldwide; this is forecast to grow to $294 in 2020.

Many experts say the upswing in the UAE’s cosmetics and skincare segment is fuelled by the lifestyle that it is associated with. Medical specialists say proper skincare is not gender-specific and that everyone should invest in a proper routine, especially in the harsh climate of the UAE.

Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of Messe Frankfurt Middle East, organisers of the Beautyworld Middle East exhibition, says there has been an increasing emphasis on looking polished and well put together among residents in the UAE, especially males. This has lead to a boom in the men’s skincare and grooming segment in the UAE, which has shown double-digit growth over the past three years.

“A lot of residents, who weren’t necessarily very conscious about their appearances, are now starting to take note of how they are presenting themselves,” he said. “Its become a natural step that comes after dressing well; you focus on ensuring that your skin is not dry, your beard and hair is well trimmed and healthy, and your hands are well cared for. Keeping up appearances at work has also significantly impacted the demand for men’s skincare and grooming products in the region.”

Dr Iyad Hijjawi, senior consultant at Euromonitor International, noted that the organic and halal beauty segments have also grown alongside the men’s skincare segment. Earlier, there wasn’t much of a distinction between the halal beauty and organic skincare segments, but many international brands have now researched the needs of consumers and have launched product lines that seek to cater to the demand in both segments.

“Green beauty and skincare products have been making a huge impact in the industry, especially as consumers become more aware of what goes into products,” he said. “Shoppers in the UAE, in particular, are some of the most well informed, and they actively keep up with the latest beauty trends in the market.”

International manufacturers of ethically-sourced and sustainably produced beauty products are looking to flourish in the Middle East and African natural and organic cosmetics market that was estimated to be worth between $2.25 billion to $2.5 billion in 2017.

TechSci Research has noted that the growing global preference for clean, green, and sustainable beauty products has taken root in the MEA region, and that the regional market for natural and organic cosmetics could grow annually by 12-15 per cent over the next five years. This would place the retail value of the segment anywhere between $4 billion and $5 billion by 2022, driven, by increasing consumer awareness and demand for products that are not only better for their health, but better for the environment and society overall.

Many international beauty hubs such as France, Spain, and Italy, have taken note of this trend and have designed product lines that will appeal to beauty and skincare enthusiasts in the region.

French ambassador to the UAE, Ludovic Pouille, noted that fragrances and beauty products are today synonymous with France. The already sizable French beauty industry, he revealed, has consistently recorded a steady growth over the years, and many French beauty products have found a home in the Middle East, especially the UAE.

“Consumers in the UAE love French beauty products, which are known for their high quality. French beauty and skincare brands are highly trusted in the industry and we have seen a growth in their demand in the region.”

Pouille also noted that there has been a notable increase in the demand for all natural skincare products and that many French beauty companies are increasing their focus on such products. This, he notes, is a worldwide trend and not restricted to the UAE.

The global halal cosmetics market, on the other hand, is expected to reach $52.02 billion by 2025, according to a report by Grand View Research Inc. The awareness levels of Muslim shoppers regarding the ingredients used in cosmetics and personal care products will determine the industry’s future growth trajectory, experts say.