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Marketing Matters: Professional Skin Care Comes Home

By: Liz Grubow
Posted: August 5, 2008, from the August 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.

Olay realized that little room is available at point-of-purchase to explain to women the features and benefits of its products and wanted to take a proactive role in helping women with a customized routine suited to their needs.

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Growing interest in professional level products includes toners, antiaging products and facial masks. More women are entering the Asian workplace and are becoming more aware of how their appearance can affect their careers. Mothers are now actually learning beauty regimens from their daughters. With a long and powerful tradition of beauty culture, perhaps this helps explain the explosive growth in China’s beauty sector and a new obsession with extremes of beauty culture, such as plastic surgery, in a market worth more than $2.4 billion, according to China Daily.

In recent years, many middle-class Chinese nationals have visited spas and professional beauty establishments for the first time. In fact, the market for facial treatments is estimated to be the third largest in the world, putting it ahead of any country in Europe.

Physician brands Perricone and MD Skincare are two brands seeing vast potential in the Hong Kong market, for example. Murad recently announced its intention to further expand in Asia in order to meet consumer demand there. Rhei Pharmaceuticals, a fully integrated specialty pharmaceuticals company focused on bringing proprietary medicines to the China market, has licensed from Drs. Hans Schreuder Products the exclusive right to market and distribute the Drs. Hans Schreuder Vision for Health Skin Care line throughout Asia. The natural skin care line will be marketed through Rhei’s pharmacy division and sold in pharmacies and spas there. Its flagship scar treatment product will benefit from Rhei’s expertise marketing to medical professionals such as dermatologists and plastic surgery clinics.

Based on early indicators, the Asian market for professional skin care, and China in particular, is set to become the world’s largest market if current growth rates can be sustained.

Tight Budgets, Mass Appeal

While U.S. consumers are obsessed with maintaining a youthful appearance, our current economy and overscheduled lives may signal a shift in behaviors where consumers search out less costly solutions to meet tighter budgets and realize time savings. With food prices increasing at the fastest pace in 17 years and gas prices soaring, disposable income isn’t what it used to be.

Financially strapped consumers, who are not afraid to dig for knowledge about ingredient potency, may discontinue their regular visits to the dermatologist and opt to shop for in-home treatments online, in drug stores, at mass merchants or in beauty and cosmetic retailers.