Shiseido prepares Ultimune as autumn blockbuster

By Kevin Rozario |

Shiseido’s biggest skincare breakthrough in years will debut in in travel retail this September – with the Japan-based beauty house putting a huge investment behind the launch.


Ultimune is describes by Shiseido as “a new era in cosmetics” that could potentially open up a beauty segment based on immunity.  The launch coincides with a new brand signature for the house – Because the Beauty is Already in You.


Ultimune harnesses the skin’s immune system to protect against environmental threats, emotional stress and ageing.


“This is not a niche product, it is brand new territory,” says Shiseido. Putting its money where its mouth is, the house is spending 70% of its annual media budget on this single launch between September and December.


In travel retail, some 98 weeks of animations are pipelined across Europe from October, with all the key airport hubs lined up.


The product launches in 30ml and 50ml versions – with a special 75ml (€119) exclusively for travel retail in the first six months. It has floral notes of rose and lotus flower, with a rich, dense texture that, nevertheless, absorbs immediately – a key demand from women. The futuristic arched bottle (see main image), in a graduated red, is a nod to the brand’s first beauty product, Eudermine, a skin-enhancing lotion created in 1897.


Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate acts directly on Langerhans cells to maintain the skin’s defensive and regenerative powers, thereby visibly slow down the ageing process



Skincare is core to Shiseido with a share of sales at about 85% in 2012. And Asia is a crucial region representing 65% of the house’s net sales in travel retail. Speaking exclusively to TRBusiness, Atsushi Sato (left), President of Shiseido Europe, says: “Shiseido is primarily a skincare brand – even if we maintain a global approach to beauty within the three axes. We intend to continue rolling out our skincare expertise via complementary brands of our portfolio.”


Ultimune is key to that roll out. “On a long-term basis, our ambition is to make travel retail a powerful worldwide window for a larger brands portfolio. For this year, we have a strong asset with Ultimune as our number one priority,” remarks Sato.


The launch comes at a time when Shiseido is undergoing something of a renewal. In April the company appointed its sixteenth President, Masahiko Uotani, the former president of Coca-Cola (Japan).


The move is a watershed for the cosmetics giant as it is the first time the top job has gone to a company outsider. It is likely to herald a strong drive from Shiseido into international markets.


[More details of this major skincare launch and comments from Shiseido Europe President, Atsushi Sato, can be found in the September issue of TRBusiness magazine, out soon.]

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