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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.

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Interestingly, Euromonitor’s discussions with leading skin care brands indicate that women in Latin America tend to begin purchasing antiaging products in their 30s. With this in mind, brands are working to reach out to women while still in their teens and 20s through their acne treatment and basic skin care lines in order to establish a client base for the future, as women’s incomes and beauty-related expenditures rise.

Other Notable Categories

Sun care and depilatories are two other categories also notable in their forecast performance. While not traditionally a large market globally for sun protection, consumers in Latin America have become better educated about the links between sun exposure and skin damage, such as wrinkles, age spots and skin cancer. Color cosmetics and skin care products are increasingly formulated with sun protection ingredients and are clearly labeled with the corresponding SPF.

Historically sun protection products tended to be relegated to tourists and affluent consumers. Younger Latin Americans, however, are more likely to use sunscreens when lounging on the beach, skiing or working outdoors for extended periods of time. The new generation of parents is particularly vigilant, slathering high-SPF sun products on their children to prevent future skin problems. With much of Latin America’s population under the age of 14, brands should reap the benefits of this new attitude toward regular use of sun protection.

Country by Country

Looking at the beauty industry on a country-by-country basis, Brazil, Peru and Colombia lead the pack in retail sales growth. Positive economic outlooks in these markets rely on a number of indicators, including disposable income, and are behind the optimism surrounding these markets. Brazil, the largest market for beauty and personal care in South America, is on track to add an additional 28% in retail sales by 2014; Peru and Colombia can expect rises of 26% and 20%.

Countries that were battered by the global recession are projected to stage a robust recovery. Mexico’s beauty sales were hammered in 2009, and fell by 12% as exports and remittances plunged, leaving consumers cash-strapped for food and household necessities. By 2014, Mexico will have recouped these losses, with retail sales rising by 11% barring a double-dip recession. Even Venezuela, a country that suffered a sharp decline in disposable income in 2009 as oil prices dropped, has rosy prospects. The strong beauty culture in this nation explains the resilience of cosmetics, fragrances and personal care even in the toughest economic conditions. Retail sales in this market are forecast to rise 15%.