Booming KSA beauty market attracts investors

Updated 07 November 2014
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Booming KSA beauty market attracts investors

Saudi Arabia’s many affluent and beauty conscious women are spending on average SR14,256 a year on cosmetics, which has seen many leading international companies setting up shop in the country.
This is according to data released by Euromonitor, which publishes reports on industries, consumers and demographics in Saudi Arabia.
With a population of 28.8 million and a growth rate of 1.9 percent, Saudi Arabia has the highest percentage, at 42 percent, of women in the Gulf Cooperation Council, Euromonitor has found.
With over 50,000 registered providers, the Kingdom’s beauty industry is booming, driven by high disposable income, a young population, a high presence of international cosmetics brands and an ever-expanding retail landscape.
The Kingdom’s large and buoyant economy has been a key growth market and investment focus for brands and retailers. Over the past four years, Boots, the United Kingdom’s leading pharmacy-led health and beauty retailer, and Bath & Body Works, America’s retailer and fragrance provider, have entered the market, increasing their store portfolio to six and 15 locations respectively.
In 2012, L’Oreal solidified its presence by further expanding its product offering and introducing supplements for cosmetics purposes. One of its aims was to boost Saudization and employ more women, who are the key drivers of cosmetics growth in the Kingdom. More recently, in 2014, Marks & Spencer, UK’s retail chain, unveiled two of its world-first lingerie and beauty stores, with plans to open a further eight in the Kingdom over the next two years.
The Saudi cosmetics market is the largest in the Middle East, estimated at over SR60 billion annually, with a forecast of 11 percent annual growth rate, according to Euromonitor.
“Over the next five years, the average annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate is expected to be 4.4 percent. By 2020, GDP per capita is forecast to reach SR112,500, up from SR71,250 in 2010,” it stated.
The International Monetary Fund has said that the Kingdom currently ranks as the 26th economy out of 189 in the “ease of doing business” category and an increasing number of beauty and cosmetics businesses are recognizing the potential for growth in the market.
Euromonitor has identified a marked shift in the attitudes of consumers, who have become increasingly sophisticated and demanding. An increase in the number of people having access to the Internet — 60.5 people out of 100 in 2013, up from 41 in 2010 — has led to an enhanced awareness of products and services. With cosmetic surgery on the rise, the sector has grown tenfold over the past five years.
Since going under the knife for aesthetic reasons has become more socially acceptable, cosmetic procedures such as liposuction, rhinoplasty, Botox injections and fillers, and laser hair removal have become common. Furthermore, the Kingdom is being increasingly viewed as an attractive shopping destination by religious tourists, with the country expecting to receive 88 million visitors by 2020.
According to statistics, only 1 percent of operators in the Saudi beauty market travel outside the Kingdom to participate in international beauty shows and exhibitions in the region, so a local presence is necessary to gain exposure to this sector.
Recognizing this opportunity, Reed Sunaidi Exhibitions is organizing the first international and in-country exhibition, the Saudi Health and Beauty Show 2014, which will take place at the Jeddah Center for Forums and Events from Nov. 24 to 27.
John Hooke-Tappin, show director at Reed Sunaidi Exhibitions, said: “With over 120 international exhibitors set to showcase at the event, it is evident that the global health and beauty industry is keen to tap into the substantial Saudi market potential.”
“We aim to play a leading role in the development of this important sector and believe that investment from international brands will foster innovation and attract new talent, promote healthy competition and create jobs.”
Shaa’ Al-Duhailan, chairperson of the salons committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that salons and beauty services have come to a virtual standstill because of the lack of staff, with many businesses now seeking skilled and unskilled employees.
“Businesspeople now want Saudis to fill these positions. The Eastern Province itself needs at least 7,000 Saudi workers for the region’s 4,000 salons and beauty shops.”
“With the government focusing heavily on infrastructure and reform to enhance its value proposition to businesses, the Kingdom remains a lucrative market for strategic investment,” she said.


Saudi sources deny ‘unsubstantiated’ reports of permitting alcohol

Updated 25 min 43 sec ago
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Saudi sources deny ‘unsubstantiated’ reports of permitting alcohol

  • “The leadership has made it clear from day one; it is simply not happening,”SCTH source tells Arab News
  • The SCTH is responsible for licensing and rating hotels and restaurants

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has no plans to allow the sale or public consumption of alcohol, a senior government source has told Arab News.

The official with access to relevant decision-makers categorically denied “unsubstantiated” media reports in some international and regional news outlets.

“If you read the fake news, you will notice it is all based on hearsay and tweets by accounts known to have a questionable agenda when talking about the Kingdom,” he said.

“As the country moves forward with its reform plans, we expect much speculation and attempts by critics to hold us back. And while people are allowed to speculate and criticize, their speculation should not be treated as the truth.”

A second source at the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) also denied such reports. “The leadership has made it clear from day one; it is simply not happening,” he told Arab News. “I have not heard of any plans to allow alcohol in major cities, free zones or new projects.”

The SCTH is responsible for licensing and rating hotels and restaurants. Any plans for the sale or consumption of alcohol would have to go through the commission for implementation. 

Saudi Arabia has witnessed substantial social reforms over the past three years, such as the curbing of the previously unchecked power of the religious police, reopening cinemas and allowing women to drive.

There has also been a major shift on previously prohibited public entertainment and gender mixing. International artists including Mariah Carey, Yanni, Andrea Bocelli, Enrique Iglesias and Black Eyed Peas have all performed.

Tourism projects have included pop-up versions of international restaurants such as Signor Sassi, Nusr-Et and Nobu. None has served alcohol.

“Officials have repeatedly said all changes were and will always be in line with Islamic teachings and traditions,” the senior source told Arab News.