Booming Brazil: the 3rd bastion of the beauty industry

Think of Brazil and a few iconic images spring to mind: Christ the Redeemer towering over Rio de Janeiro; Samba dancers gracefully swaying in the street and perfect bronzed bodies sashaying along the beach-side catwalks. 

These may be three very different symbols but they all have one thing in common – each one represents a vision of ‘beauty’ in its own unique way. Which is not surprising given Brazil’s reputation as the world’s most beautiful country. As Alexander Edmonds, author of Pretty Modern: Beauty, Sex And Plastic Surgery In Brazil, states:“Beauty is so important in Brazil, vaidade (or vanity), doesn’t have a negative connotation in Brazilian Portuguese. And from an outside perspective, the country is seen as a symbol of tropical sensuality in the foreign imagination.” 

This might sound a little frivolous but when translated into the business of beauty, it couldn’t be closer to the truth – Brazil is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with in the global cosmetics industry. While this may come as a surprise to some, it is perhaps not unexpected for the country which gave birth to Gisele Bündchen, the world’s highest paid supermodel. 

So let’s begin with the facts. According to Euromonitor, Brazil is home to the world’s largest C&T market behind the USA and Japan. Valued at $42 billion in 2012, it represents 58% of the Latin American Beauty & Personal Care Market and is on track to overtake its rival Japan as the world’s second largest beauty market within a few years. The reasons behind this meteoric rise are clear and point to a number of macro-economic factors such as the increase in minimum wage, the growing number of working women and the rise in spending power of the middle classes. 

But crucially, the last two decades have also witnessed an increased interest from Brazilians – across all walks of life – in their personal appearance. From the shantytowns of São Paulo to the beaches of Bahía, grooming and personal care has become an essential part of the daily routine. And research from Datamonitor backs this up – in Brazil, 87% of the population wants to look stylish at all times (vs. 47% globally) and ‘looking your best in day-to-day life’ is deemed either important or very important by 91% of people. As a result, people are spending more money on their appearance than ever before. 

So where is their money going and which sectors of the industry are benefiting? Currently Brazil is the second largest global market for hair care products, which together with fragrances, accounts for nearly 40% of total sales within beauty and personal care. Trends-wise, colouring and straightening has become extremely popular, with some women admitting to using four or five hair care products a day in a bid to create their perfect look. But that’s not all – the penchant for poker straight hair has caught on around the world and the ‘Brazilian blow-dry’ is now one of the most requested styles in salons up and down the UK. Combine that with the fact that hair care goods are the most exported product category and it’s clear that the country is fast becoming a trend-setting hub for the global beauty industry. 

Beyond hair care, Brazil is the world’s largest market for deodorants and perfumes, the third largest for coloured cosmetics and oral hygiene and the fourth largest for skincare. It is also the second largest market for men’s grooming products, highlighting that an interest in personal appearance is not solely limited to women. Brazilian men are more aware of themselves than ever before, and this market segment is predicted to see dynamic growth in sales, driven largely by the introduction of sophisticated value-added products. 

However, looking stylish on the outside isn’t enough for this discerning group of consumers. Many Brazilians are equally concerned with what’s on the inside, particularly when it comes to the contents of their favourite cosmetic products. And with such rich natural ingredient sources surrounding them, who can blame them? According to Datamonitor, 56% of the population claims to ‘think about ethical and environmental factors with every purchase that they make’, compared to 34% globally. Interestingly, however, products that have been ‘locally produced’, don’t appear high on their wish lists, showing that Brazilians are open-minded when it comes to international brands. 

But that’s not to say overseas organisations are dominating this usually patriotic nation. According to ABHIPEC (Brazilian Association of the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Industry), there are 2,392 cosmetic, toiletry and fragrance manufacturers in Brazil, predominantly located in the South East of the country. Of these, the top five leading companies – Natura Cosméticos, Unilever Brasil, Avon Cosmético, Procter & Gamble do Brasil and Botica Comercial Farmacêutica (O Boticário) – account for 50% of overall value sales. 

However, a recent shift from direct to store based retailing is bringing about a change in this market structure. The arrival of major international brands is giving rise to intense competition and direct sales companies such as Natura Cosméticos and Avon Cosméticos, are struggling. Success stories from the likes of Sephora – who entered the market in 2010, launched its first store in 2012 and is predicted to have 10 more by the end of 2013 – are commonplace and will continue to abound as beauty specialist retailing continues its run as the fastest growing retail channel of recent years. 

Right now, however, it’s clear that the beauty world is finally waking up to Brazil and the huge potential that this market has to offer. Not only has it become Latin America’s fashion and beauty powerhouse, but this emerging force is set for global domination over the next few years – and success is inches from its grasp. 

Informações sobre a in-cosmetics This article is the first in a three-part series of articles focussing on the booming Brazilian C&T market, published to coincide with the Brazil Country Focus feature (sponsored by Beraca) at this year’s in-cosmetics. 

The exhibition, which takes place in Hamburg from 1-3 April 2014, will shine a light on Brazil’s vibrant personal care market via the Brazil exhibitor pavilion; exclusive educational programme content; the Brazil Trail highlighting original projects, unique ingredients and exhibitor formulations; examples of innovative skincare, colour cosmetics and hair care beauty products from Brazil handpicked by Mintel and a Networking Zone with a Brazilian bar. 

About the author:
Cathy Laporte is the Exhibition Manager for in-cosmetics

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