‘Immersive beauty’: brands adapt to new era in Asia

By Charlotte Turner |

High-end interactive events are the order of the day for big brands like Lancaster hoping to recruit customers in China.

High-end interactive events are the order of the day for big brands like Lancaster hoping to recruit customers in China.

In a major 15-page report, TRBusiness explores the new adaptations being made by beauty companies in Asia Pacific to win the hearts and minds of consumers as passenger numbers continue to pick up in a ‘post-pandemic’ era.

 

Global powerhouse brands have told TRBusiness how they are navigating a new landscape for beauty in Asia Pacific which involves tapping into brand loyalty and launching surprising collaborations; staging high profile and high-octane promotional events; creating more immersive experiences for consumers through new AR/VR services; offering tailored skincare diagnoses, as well more effectively merging online and offline channels (O+O).

 

In a wide-ranging report, suppliers such as L’Oréal, Coty, Estée Lauder Companies, Inter Parfums, Nuxe and Moroccanoil share their experiences and lessons learned in Asia Pacific markets as more countries lift or reduce their travel restrictions and dial down their testing and quarantine procedures.

 

Click here to access the extensive Beauty in Asia report (p95-115) in the TRBusiness May e-zine.

 

Brands also discuss the importance of Hainan during the pandemic, which sky-rocketed as Chinese travellers had few other places to take their vacations and focus their pent-up spend.

 

Video: Lancôme Travel Retail Asia Pacific hosted a promotional campaign in Hainan involving seven pop-ups and a livestream with the slogan ‘create happiness everywhere you go’, following a star-studded event at the Haikou Mova downtown shopping mall on 10 February.

 

BEAUTY’S DOMINANT POSITION IN HAINAN

In a report on China’s luxury market, global consultancy Bain & Company identified the island province as one of  the drivers of future luxury growth in China, with beauty holding a dominant position.

 

Hainan’s duty free stores more than doubled their sales in 2020 and in 2021 they were up again by about 85% to reach $9.5 billion (RMB60 billion).

 

This contributed about 5% to China’s overall luxury goods market growth, according to Bain. The consultancy estimates that personal luxury makes up about 95% of Hainan sales, with luxury beauty accounting for more than 50% of that number.

 

L'Oréal's touch of magic displayed in an immersive 3D LED wall animation featuring Armani Beauty products at Lagardère Duty Free's Mall

L’Oréal’s touch of magic displayed in an immersive 3D LED wall animation featuring Armani Beauty products at Lagardère Duty Free’s Mall.

 

LIVESTREAMING: THE NEW NORM

L’Oréal Travel Retail’s Global Retail & Digital General Manager, Sophie Neyertz-Ehrsam tells TRBusiness how the company is fully leveraging digital platforms in the region at this time. “In Asia and particularly in Hainan, livestreaming sessions on our retailers’ social accounts has become the new norm in order to raise travel retail awareness and engagement of our brands amongst travellers.”

 

“We have been running many campaigns on all our brands and all categories (skincare, but also make-up and fragrances), some generating up to 60m views and we are now in a scaling mode. In the Western world, the maturity on this topic is not the same yet. It will definitely improve in the future but at the moment we are focusing on some other priorities within our digital transformation roadmap.”

 

A Coty Travel Retail Asia Pacific VIP event for Lancaster in Sanya, Hainan island.

A Coty Travel Retail Asia Pacific VIP event for Lancaster in Sanya, Hainan island.

 

For Coty, the addition of new ‘immersive’ services is key in re-building consumers’ confidence in travel retail.

 

“We began building a more engaging and immersive digital-first omni-channel shopping experience in duty free stores to help drive conversion. With our new digital technologies – like AR virtual try-on – customers can browse and test products safely and interactively,” says Markus Stauss, VP Global Marketing Travel Retail.

 

SKINCARE DRIVING RECOVERY

With skincare ranking higher than cosmetics among numerous nationalities in Asia (namely the Chinese), Coty has ‘optimised its portfolio’ with a renewed focus on brands such as Lancaster. 

 

A consumer take the offline experience online inside an CNY Armani pop-up.

A consumer takes the offline experience online inside an CNY Armani pop-up.

 

“The skincare category, in particular, has grown exponentially in Asia and represents a huge growth opportunity for Coty Travel Retail,” says Stauss.

 

“We hope to become an even stronger global player by launching Lancaster with an Asia-focused product lineup.”

 

Awareness and desirability make the difference,"

“Awareness and desirability make the difference,” says Bouillonnec.

For Inter Parfums, the focus has been on elevating the status of their hero brands. “Brand building is key. Awareness and desirability make the difference,” Hervé Bouillonnec, Chief Commercial Officer at Inter Parfums Inc tells TRBusiness.

 

COLLABS WITH KOLS AND ARTISTS

Both wide distribution and high levels of brand exposure remain important for Inter Parfums.

 

“The more consumers can access our products the bigger the overall business will be,” says Bouillonnec.

 

Effective communication of a brand’s identity and narrative cannot be achieved these days without leveraging the power of social media. Partnering with KOLs is now also considered essential. 

 

“The best example [we have] is MCM doing a collaboration with artists and KOLs; creating a community, a lifestyle,” says Bouillonnec. “[Projecting this] luxury aesthetic is key for the Gen Z shopper. This is, again, about desirability.”

 

Video interview: Moroccanoil’s Vice President Global Travel Retail, Sebastien Levi, tells Luke Barras-Hill that the brand is leveraging its omni-channel channels, notably in Asia where travel retail and domestic operations are strongly linked via downtown points of sale. 

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