By Anil Bhoyrul
A budding youthful population and increased wage packages see demand for beauty products sky-rocket in the Middle East.
Beauty products are facing massive growth across the region. Overall, the category has grown by 12% annually and it is estimated that the total value of cosmetic related sales will reach US$2.1 billion this year.
This augurs well for the beauty industry confirms Ms Heather Nix, Group Exhibitions Manager of Messe Frankfurt, organisers of Beauty World Middle East. "The growth has been really quite phenomenal. We are seeing more and more people throughout the region purchasing beauty and personal grooming products. Taking care of your skin and maintaining your appearance is clearly becoming an increasingly important activity to men and women in this part of the world," she said.
The figures tell the tale of an extremely healthy period of growth for the industry. Last year, the cosmetics and personal care market in the UAE alone was worth more than US$414 million in retail sales - an increase from US$382 million, according to a recent consumer survey undertaken recently.
The consumption of cosmetics and perfumes in this region ranks among the highest per capita world wide, with an average purchase at around US$334 per head. Some major brands are very active, with names such as Christian Dior and Coty among the favored few and several manufacturers are known to have established subsidiaries in the Gulf to manage logistics, marketing and local distribution deals. The region is indeed beginning to show the same trends as can be seen in the "showcase" Dubai shopping areas, according to retail experts.
Ms Nix puts the increase down to a number of factors. "The Middle East region has a young population, 60% of which are under the age of 25. These are the years when traditionally people will experiment with cosmetic products to help find their own personal style," she said. "Also, the unique conditions of the Middle East's climate have helped fuel spending on certain types of purchases. Herbal cosmetics that incorporate moisturizers and fragrances that are tailored to the specific weather conditions here have enjoyed an unparalleled boon."
Economic factors have also shaped the industry's rapid growth across the UAE, with working women having higher disposable incomes and spending more than ever before on cosmetics. "The per capita annual income is now in excess of $20,000 for the region," Ms. Nix added. "There is more money to be spent on items that were once considered a luxury, but are now more commonly viewed as a necessity."
And it's not just women who are keen to spend their hard earned Dirhams on ensuring that they look the best. "More men than ever before across the UAE region are buying personal grooming products and this is a reflection of the increasing acceptance of males wanting to look good," says Ms. Nix. "Men in this part of the world are sports mad and the World Cup this year brought icons like England soccer captain David Beckham into their front room. As well as being a sporting superstar, he is also the face of several male grooming products and men want to emulate him as much as possible," she added.
Fashion outlets that retail cosmetic products are naturally featuring as a part of this consumer boom. Paris Gallery, which deals in international brand cosmetics, is planning to open 40 new retail outlets in the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia soon, along with moves into Bahrain, Kuwait, the Lebanon and Oman in the near future.
Dubai will also host Beautyworld Middle East, the most successful beauty event in the region. Now in its 12th year and the largest event of its kind, Beautyworld will host 950 exhibitors representing 1300 brands from 55 countries. The event runs from 20-22 May 2007 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre and it is expected that approximately 9500 trade visitors will attend from around 80 countries.For all the latest retail news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.