6th - 8th December 2021, Dubai World Trade Centre

Skincare & Functional Cosmetics Getting a Giant Boost Post-Pandemic

During the Skincare & Functional Cosmetics held on August 11th, as a part of the Organic and Natural Digital Trade Week, we saw industry buyers come together to discuss the trends of this sector. The Digital Trade Week or DTW is an extension of the Organic and Natural Products Expo, happening in the Dubai World Trade Centre from December 15th to 17th 2020. Every trade week focuses on a specific sector, where buyers and sellers meet and trade on our digital platforms.

Read more to see what experts in the segment had to say.

In the UAE, consumers are spending $247 per capita on beauty products and this will hit $294 by 2020 year-end.

We first kicked off with global and regional trends in terms of organic and natural beauty.

“I feel the global and local natural/organic beauty segment is growing dramatically. The reasons are an increase in awareness, more transparency, and a push towards R&D with big giants such as Sephora,” said Mukta Tewani Purain, Co-founder of MissPalettable.com, one of the Middle East’s biggest e-commerce platform for clean beauty.

“Socially conscious Millenials and Generation Z, are the driving forces of this segment and are helping it grow. Lastly, homegrown brands are making this space mainstream in the Middle East. In the UAE, consumers are spending $247 per capita on beauty products and this will hit $294 by 2020 year-end.”

Meanwhile, Leena Al-Abbas Founder and CEO of The Organic Glow Beauty Lounge, the first-ever premium organic & vegan salon in the UAE, stated, “There’s surely more demand for it now. Clients are becoming very picky when it comes to the products they are using. Their spending power is going towards specific clean beauty products that are ethical and not only toxic-free.”

Shirley Conlon, Founder and CEO of Shirley Conlon Organics, one of the major homegrown organic brands in the UAE added, “I think more people are becoming aware of the natural and organic sector. It’s a market that is growing year on year, and I would love to see more brands introduced in the region as the demand grows.”

The pandemic has lead to a shift towards a focus on skincare, especially organic/natural brands, and products

Al-Abbas gave her point of view on how the pandemic has brought in more health-conscious customers to her salon.

“There has definitely been keen interest from new people who would not have chosen this lifestyle before. We’re always getting new clients, especially pregnant women. After all, the skin only takes 26 seconds for chemicals to be absorbed,” she said.

Anna Gedman, Founder and Managing Director of Beauty Solutions Trading DMCC, one of the largest online shopping platforms for clean beauty and a major importer for such products, also opined,

“The pandemic has lead to a shift away from makeup and towards a focus on skincare, especially organic/natural brands, and products. Selfcare has been featured heavily in people’s routines. People have spent more time on bathing and facial rituals with an increase in product use and increase in steps in their routine.”

During the COVID-19 era, a multitude of online sales came in

Purain said, “The demand has shifted to online. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, people within the region were not so comfortable shopping online. They wanted to go to the stores to test beauty products. During the COVID-19 era, we saw a lot of online sales coming in. Skincare and haircare were two of our biggest sellers as people could not go to the salon at that time. This trend is going to continue.”

 

Vegan and plant-based haircare, clean performance-based cosmetics, base makeup, and suncare currently trending

“Vegan and plant-based haircare, clean performance-based cosmetics, base makeup, and suncare are trending in the organic and natural beauty space currently,” Purain observed. “Ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, retinol, and natural SPF are in demand for skincare. For haircare, products without sulfate and paraben, along with natural color care are trending. Also, organic makeup will certainly grow, especially eye-makeup as we’re all wearing masks now.”

Gedman said, “Masks and serums are still selling well and are giving additional results by adding another step in your daily or weekly routine. Certain tools have also featured heavily in routines, such as rollers or Gua-shas, and even more technical electrical tools and devices.”

Conlon talks about the importance of blue and slow beauty trends, “Blue beauty (giving back to the environment), which is about recycling, refill, and re-use is an important trend. There is a lot of hype also about slow beauty (choosing less and choosing well), and really taking a step back to enjoy the benefits of the products you have instead of always looking for that new thing.”

Sakshi Samiksha Nath, Founder of Queen’s Beauty Lounge, a high-end beauty salon with multiple outlets in the UAE said, “I am currently in love with probiotics and it has wonderful results on the skin. I think it’s a future trend for skincare.”

Suppliers need to go the extra mile, give marketing support, offer great incentives, offer training, and have a continuous dialogue with clients

We asked the experts on their valuable advice on how to enter the Middle East Market. “I would say you need to understand the market. The UAE is a word of mouth market. Social media is also very important especially Instagram. It can get noisy, but if you’re authentic, people will notice that. After COVID-19 people are a lot more price-conscious, and you need to tailor your plan accordingly,” Purain advised. “Moreover, you have to register all your products. You need to do your documentations right. Every brand we have listed on our websites is registered. Certification is very important.”

“I always wish to collaborate with suppliers who go the extra mile, give marketing support, offer great incentives, offer training, have a continuous dialogue with us, and do not have frequent staff changes to maintain relationships,” said Al-Abbas.

Conlon was optimistic, “The MENA region has always been a huge beauty-focused region, so it’s a great market to enter. It has its challenges in terms of registration and distribution but I think any new market is difficult initially.”

“You must give proper education about what you’re selling. A good education is a key to longevity,” Nath said.

Predictions

“We are just starting, especially in the UAE. We are constantly growing, changing, adapting, and sourcing new brands,” Purain stated.

Conlon said, “My prediction is that the beauty sector will continue with its steady growth, especially with e-commerce. Brands that have a purpose and a mission towards a better tomorrow will thrive.

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