The beauty and personal care products market in Asia Pacific is predicted to see a compound annual growth rate of 6.38% between 2022 to 2027, according to research by India-based business management consultant Mordor Intelligence. Separately, statistics from NielsenIQ showed that sales for beauty products surged during the 2021 holiday season, surpassing 2019 holiday sales by 28.1%. In 2021, the entire beauty category in the US grew to US$88.7 billion sales.
Without a doubt, the beauty category is popular among consumers and will continue to grow, especially with markets opening up and governments easing mask-wearing rules. However, given how cluttered the beauty category is, especially the skincare category, it can be hard for brands to cut through the clutter.
In fact, it takes 55 to 65 days to build a strong bias for a brand in the skincare category in Malaysia, according to research from Wavemaker Malaysia's data bank Momentum. It also takes six days for the Malaysian consumer to move from actively looking to purchase.
Consumers with strong bias are five times more likely to convert than those without. In Thailand and Germany, statistics show that consumers are 21 times and 30 times more likely to convert than those without, respectively.
In Malaysia, 17 consumer needs were uncovered that would move consumers from priming bias to the active purchase phase. While some of these needs are essential entry points into the category, such as glowing skin and even tone, there are needs that offer white space and possibly meaningful differentiation for the brand too.
So what should brands take note of to excel in this space?
1. Build a game plan for priming bias and active phases
According to Wavemaker Malaysia's GM, Sheley Lim, big launches with a short-intense burst of media investments simply won't work for consumers who take their own time in developing a positive bias for the brands.
Instead, brands in this category need to match short intense bursts with steady and spread-out investments for at least 60 days.
"Investing in creating engaging content beyond the main TVC/launch asset is crucial, yet blindly creating for its sake won't work either. Understanding the consumer's media habits and purchase journey puts the brand & content at the right place at the right time," she explained.
In the priming stage for Malaysian consumers, nine out of the top 15 touchpoints fell underpaid while three were earned and owned each. In the active phase, among the top 15 touchpoints, only six fell underpaid (and at lower ranks), while five were under-earned and three were under-owned.
2. Leverage the use of addressable content
Creative content gets half the job done. The other half relies on impactful delivery and Lim said addressable media is advantageous as it brings the right content to consumers who are looking for or need it the most at the right time and does at scale.
3. A mix of touchpoints
Brands can switch up their media strategy by building a mix with touchpoints that cut across the funnel and gradually strengthen the investment in this mix instead of the traditional approach of locking touchpoints to each phase.
Citing an initiative it did with L'Oréal, Lim said the Malaysia team transformed Facebook into an online event platform for eight luxury brands by integrating an AI chatbot into Facebook Messenger. This meant that the brand was able to lock consumers in from awareness to consideration and conversion. Brands should also consider disrupting the conventional roles of media to break the clutter. According to Wavemaker, this works like a charm with traditional media that provides huge reach but is the fortress of conventionality.