We caught up with John Jiménez, Senior Exploration Scientist, Belcorp after his fascinating presentation about L Beauty at in-cosmetics Latin America last month. Here John shares his views and insights into Latin American beauty’s challenges but also its strengths and potential.
In your presentation at in-cosmetics Latin America, you mentioned the great potential of the Latin American beauty market – what are the region’s strengths?
One of the great strengths of the region is biodiversity development with strong scientific support. Brazil is a global reference in the development of technology coming from biodiversity and this is a path that other biodiverse countries such as Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Argentina are undertaking.
In Colombia, for example, after the signing of the peace process, there has been research in previously conflict-affected areas, such as rain forests and moors and, to date, more than 100 new biological species have been found, many of which have a great cosmetic potential. Hundreds of natural raw materials are waiting to be discovered.
Another regional strength is that ethnic diversity allows innovation in the development of cosmetic actives and products for the haircare market and we have been able to see how regionally developed concepts have had have a global out reach.
On the other hand, demand for cosmetic surgery procedures around the world continues to increase and Brazil, Colombia and Mexico are amongst the top of countries in terms of the total number of procedures, it means the region has a huge opportunity as regards innovation in cosmetics products to be used before, during and after procedures, too.
And what do you think are the challenges facing (local but also international) cosmetic manufacturers in the region?
One of the challenges for manufacturers is the lack of harmonization in regional legislation, thus the technical requirements vary amongst countries which results in longer production timelines.
The legal requirements related to the use of biodiversity and the implication, for example, of the Nagoya protocol, demand more time and resources for the development of new initiatives. Another great challenge is how to achieve better links between academic and university-led efforts with the cosmetic industry.
Raising awareness among consumers about the relevance of sun protection and anti-ageing cosmetics is also a wonderful opportunity for our market.
Finally, local and international manufacturers also have the challenge of carrying out studies about consumer needs that are more inclusive. This applies to local, indigenous, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender and intersex (LGTBI) communities, in such a way that they can provide cosmetic solutions that these segments of the population may not be able to satisfy with the current offer.
What particular segments in the region have major potential and why?
The haircare category is undoubtedly one of the most interesting ones due to the great ethnic diversity in Latin American countries. In my lecture I explained this with examples of how the “bifurcation” trend is creating interesting market opportunities for low-cost formats and also in the luxury market under various categories, including cosmetics and this is an opportunity brands are taking advantage of under the Indie or Niche concept.
Skincare also has an immense potential because brands can drive educational and awareness programs on the importance of anti-ageing treatments and increase the market size. Sun protection is a growing category but it still has the potential to increase its market share even more.
In countries such as Colombia, Peru, Mexico and Brazil make-up is very important for cultural reasons and it is also a category with a great market share.
Men’s grooming, as is the case in other regions of the world is also growing significantly as nowadays men are more aware of their personal appearance and want to try more original and “adventurous” concepts.
How about Latin American beauty consumers – can you share any insights about their specific behaviour?
Latin American consumers are moving away from traditional consumption patterns. Traditionally we have seen how Latin America adopts Asian European and North American trends, but nowadays we can see how the region is beginning to inspire the development of concepts with global outreach.
Latin Americans are becoming more aware of the opportunities offered by their biodiversity and the care of their own environment. Consumers in the region want to see products with more support as regards effectiveness, benefits and promises.
Just like Asian consumers, Latin Americans are looking for new experiences, they want to experiment with routines, believe in influencers and want to be trendy. Social networks are a determining factor for these avid consumers of innovation.
Finally, tell us a bit more about Belcorp’s business model and why it is so successful in Latin America?
Belcorp is a leading company in the Latin American region and we are in the top positions in most countries. Our purpose is “to promote beauty to achieve personal fulfilment” and for that reason, we have a successful network close to one million entrepreneur beauty consultants’ women.
Our business model is mainly direct sales. We are successful because our innovation process is based on satisfying the needs of the consumer, which we detect through comprehensive behaviour studies and insights. We also have an interdisciplinary team of world-class scientists and a powerful network of suppliers and strategic partners that allows us to be at the forefront of technology in all our launches.
View John Gimenez’s presentation at in-cosmetics Latin America: Belcorp Indie Beauty