Iranian Skin Care Market Sees Growth Spurt

Iran's skin care market has been growing from its small base, thanks to significant marketing and advertising efforts as well as the rise in oil prices, which has boosted the average national income for consumers.

According to Irina Barbalova, head of beauty and personal care research at Euromonitor International, Iran's market grew by 24% in 2010 to reach IRR3.2 billion, or $3 million. Both international and domestic skin care players have expanded their footprints in Iran by targeting pharmacologists and dermatologists, encouraging awareness in consumers who were invariably not accustomed to specific skin care routines.

Strongest Growth in Nourishing/Anti-aging Products

Nourishers/anti-agers achieved the strongest growth, expanding by 26% in 2010 to reach a total of IRR195 million, a rate that is expected to be sustained over the forecast period. Barbalova says this growth is being driven by women who are becoming increasingly aware of facial care thanks to greater familiarity with product offerings.

Mass Products Dominate Skin Care Market

The Iranian skin care market remains dominated by mass products, which account for 62% of total sales, although premium products are gaining ground, particularly in the facial care category where women are more inclined to opt for better quality products if they are affordable. Currently, the market is dominated by domestic player Shekofa Kish, which held an 18% share in 2010, while Nivea remains the single most popular brand. Other significant domestic players include ACT Cosmetics and Poober, which both gained in 2010 to reach an 8% share each.

Looking ahead, Barbalova predicts that a growing youth population and changes in consumer patterns in Iran are likely to fuel further growth in this market over the forecast period, prompting a 7% compound annual growth rate, which should give the skin care category a value of IRR4.6 billion by 2015.

Anti-aging, Skin Whitening Products Growing in the UAE and Middle East

Skin care in the United Arab Emirates remains a small and fragmented market. Strong growth of 11% in 2009 gave the market a value of AED401 million, or $110 million, offering small-scale opportunities. This was weaker performance than the compound annual growth rate of almost 17% before the recession hit, reflecting lower consumer confidence that is only now being restored in the country and throughout the Middle East region.

Now, an expanding retail landscape, combined with a great deal of product innovation, are the main driving forces behind market expansion, which is mainly being fueled by gains in facial care, specifically anti-aging and skin whitening products, says Barbalova.

Facial care achieved the highest growth rate, expanding by 12% in 2009 to reach AED227 million, representing the largest category in the market with a 57% value share. Barbalova explains that this is because facial care is very important to women, a factor that is reflected by an array of targeted products, with facial moisturizers and nourishers/anti-agers dominating, necessitated by the harsh weather.

Currently, the market is led by Beiersdorf Middle East, with a 15% share, a figure that also underlines the fragmented state of the market. Overall, skin care is dominated by international players, with both Unilever and L'Oréal also commanding low—but increasing—shares.

Looking ahead, Barbalova expects market growth will be maintained with a forecast 5% compound annual growth rate, indicating an overall market value of AED520.3 million by 2015. The biggest gains should continue to be seen in the all-important facial care category, which is expected to grow at a 6% compound annual growth rate to reach AED307 million by 2015.

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