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The Uniqueness of Emerging Markets

By: Steve Herman
Posted: October 31, 2013, from the November 2013 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Globally, consumers of African heritage have not been well served by the hair care manufacturers. The majority of products are designed for Caucasian hair, leaving a large potential market for effective ethnic products. Millions of consumers are hungry for products that meet their needs. Improvements in chemical relaxer technology will be one major key for opening this market.

Other Elements

Another fundamental need in emerging markets is the prevention or containment of infectious disease. Disease is often spread by the hands, and common areas for infection entry are the eyes, nose and mouth. Hand sanitizers can help prevent the spread of disease. There is also a need for cleansers that work in dirty cold water, and that are nontoxic, low-foaming, cheap and safe for oral consumption.

We now live in a world divided into three regions. One region, concentrated in Europe and North America, is mature and cannot sustain high growth levels for personal care and beauty products. The emerging markets like China and Brazil have vibrant and growing consumer markets—and are already targeted by multinationals. The third region, with sub-Sahara Africa a key example, has a growing market, but is hampered by significant burdens of poverty and disease. Our industry must not only serve all these markets, it must also customize products to satisfy the needs and desires of a widely diversified population.


  1. ZD Draelos, “Understanding Skin and Personal Care Needs in Ethnic and Emerging Markets,” SCC Annual Scientific Seminar, June 7, 2013

Steve Herman is president of Diffusion LLC, a consulting company specializing in regulatory issues, intellectual property, and technology development and transfer. He is a principal in PJS Partners, offering formulation, marketing and technology solutions for the personal care and fragrance industry. He is the New York Society of Cosmetic Chemist’s 2013 chapter chairman and an adjunct professor in the Fairleigh Dickinson University Masters in Cosmetic Science program. He is also a Fellow in the Society of Cosmetic Chemists.