“Transformative makeup may still be unfamiliar to the average male consumers, but through such constant media exposure, men are increasingly encouraged to think outside of their own stereotype and to try a few makeup products, such as tinted lip balms, eyebrow mascaras and BB creams,” explained Um.
When asked to identify what prevented them using foundation, 30% of Asian Millennial respondents said that foundation products specifically for men were not available, according to results of Euromonitor’s 2017 Beauty Survey.
“The 30% response rate is a huge jump from almost 0% in the 2015 survey, which implies a significant increase in demand for color cosmetics,” Um explained.
This change in perception among male Asian consumers has not gone unnoticed by the big brands. With men’s changing perception on makeup and major premium brands like Chanel and Tom Ford offering men-specific or unisex makeups, men’s interest and usage of color cosmetics is expected to greatly increase in the coming months and years.
Um points to Chanel’s launch of its first men’s makeup line, “Boy de Chanel,” by way of example, affirming that men’s makeup is no longer niche and is fast becoming mainstream.
Industry players in developing markets such as Thailand and Vietnam have already witnessed male consumers visiting female premium brand counters to purchase foundations.
Social media-savvy female baby boomers, those born in the aftermath of World War II and up to 1964, also present a significant opportunity in the color cosmetics category.
“While the aging population is a global concern, a vibrant movement of active aging rather than anti-aging, is observed globally whereby ladies at age 45 and above are connecting through online platforms such as Sixty and Me, Fighting Fifty, and YouTube, and are sharing experiences and tips for happy aging, as well as reviews of color cosmetics for mature skin,” said Um.
Big Brands Get It
Big brands are wise to this trend; L’Oréal, for example, launched its Age Perfect makeup line, employing a Golden Squad of brand ambassadors, including Jane Fonda, Helen Mirren and Julianne Moore, to endorse the range.
Asia’s major cosmetics markets, China, Japan, South Korea and Thailand, all have aging populations. However, the aforementioned “active aging” trend is less prevalent in Asia, where women are typically more age-conscious. For example, when asked to identify what prevented them from using foundation or lipstick for the Euromonitor International 2017 Beauty Survey, Asian Baby Boomer women answered “not appropriate for my age” more often than those surveyed in Europe, the America, the Middle East and Africa.
“This implies that the social expectation in Asia for older women to behave and dress in a more conservative way pushes the women to tone down their makeup and wear a more neutral look, which eventually makes them lose interest in color cosmetics,” observed Um.
However, with mobile phone and internet use in Asia increasing rapidly, the trend could quickly reverse. The high mobile penetration in Asia will help the global active aging trend spread through the region’s baby boomers, and this suppressed mindset on looks and makeup is expected to change gradually through brand owners’ campaigns and education efforts via social media.
Middle Class Expansion
Euromonitor highlights premiumization as a further driver of innovation in the Asian color cosmetics category, particularly in countries where middle class wealth is expanding; specifically, China, Thailand and Indonesia.
“While premium in the past simply meant high prices and brand names, it now represents consumers’ pursuit for exclusive, personal product experience. People are less loyal to brands and demand wow factors beyond generic functions of a product,” Um explained.
In China, Thailand and Indonesia, for example, consumers prioritize more sophisticated, good-for-skin benefits in color cosmetic products, with terms such as “hypoallergenic,” “suits my skin concerns,” and “natural and organic” ranking at the top of the polls. Within the color cosmetics space, such demand for additional functions and benefits is observed in the rise of skin care-infused color cosmetics, such as Dior Nude Air Serum Foundation and Shiseido OnMakeup Spot Correcting Serum, which contain natural extracts and provide skin brightening and coverage together.
“VMV Hypoallergenic, a Filipino brand now also sold via Sephora in the region, also offers blushes and eyeshadows free from paraben, dye, phthalates and acne-causing ingredients,” added Um.
Meanwhile, in developed, yet economically stagnant markets like South Korea and Japan, good-for-skin benefits are less of a priority; rather, the focus is more on value for money.
“…As long as the products are cheap and provide proper coverage, they are fine to choose such products,” the analyst concluded.
Michelle Yeomans is an award winning multimedia journalist. She has been reporting on cosmetics industry movements in EMEA, US and Asia for five years and has won an award for her coverage of the complexities of operating in the Middle East. Michelle’s passion lies in tracking the beauty culture and trends of the Asia Pacific region. Ever the AV enthusiast, she also relishes the opportunity to create engaging video and podcast content for the B2B industry.