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Latin America Emerges as a Real Beauty

By: Mary Tabion, Euromonitor International
Posted: November 19, 2010, from the December 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

Having weathered the global economic crisis of 2008–2009, Latin America is quickly emerging as an attractive market for expansion—particularly as beauty companies find opportunities for growth in North America, Western Europe and Japan to be more limited. Globally, beauty sales are expected to gain 12% through 2014. Latin American sales, in contrast, are on pace to surge ahead 22%.

Latin America, like the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, has a growing middle income demographic to bolster demand for consumer goods, including beauty. Furthermore, beauty brand owners operating in Latin America are keeping pace with global trends and catering to a consumer base that is increasingly better informed about the latest innovations in ingredients, antiaging and product safety.

Fragrances and skin care are projected to remain the engines of growth in Latin America through 2014, with mass brands figuring heavily in the product mix. Fragrance retail sales are forecast to rise 34% by 2014, outpacing overall industry growth of 22%. Affordable fragrances continue to be an indulgence for many consumers when big ticket purchases are out of reach. Direct sellers across the region have been working to retool their fragrance lines to include designer and teen-inspired scents alongside classic best sellers in order to remain relevant to consumers making aspirational purchases. Avon continues to be at the forefront of designer fragrances, teaming up with Ungaro and Christian Lacroix and celebrities such as Reese Witherspoon. While these fragrances may not be top sellers in Latin America, they serve to build prestige and reinforce a company’s image of offering an international brand. Belcorp’s Cyzone brand courts young Latinas through a beauty and fragrance line designed just for teens within the social networking space by offering an online community with forums for discussing relationships, health, fashion and music, as well as a presence on Facebook and YouTube.

Similar trends can be observed in skin care, where brands are segmenting their product lines in order to target a range of price points and skin care concerns. Most brands have a baseline skin care program that cleanses, tones and moisturizes, but are increasingly offering acne treatment regiments or multiple levels of antiaging products for a variety of age ranges, as well as intensive therapy products for addressing signs of stress or fatigue. Across all price points, skin care lines are assembling arsenals against the onslaught of time with the same weapons: antioxidants, coenzyme Q10, hyaluronic acid, proteins and fruit acids and extracts.