Young Indians want to look good all the time and are fuelling a cosmetics boom

Can’t get enough.
Can’t get enough.
Image: Reuters/Philippe Wojazer
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Beauty is serious business for Indians now. And it’s the young, internet-savvy population, especially beyond the big cities, that is playing catalyst.

The country’s market for hair products, skin creams, deodorants, and coloured cosmetics is expected to nearly triple from $6.5 billion today to $20 billion in 2025, a research note by consulting firm RedSeer Consulting says. That will make it one of the world’s top five markets for cosmetics, with a compounded annual growth rate of 25%. This is far above the global average of 4.3%.

This booming growth has a lot to do with India’s younger demographic. These Indians “want to look good all the time,” Shubham Anand, head of retail and consumer practice at RedSeer, said.

“Social media and favourable demographics are playing an important role in spreading awareness about cosmetic products and developing fashion consciousness..,” the note added.

While this rising demand encompasses everything from natural products to luxury brands, herbal and premium international skin-care brands are the categories that RedSeer expects to grow at a faster clip over the next few years. And the global names are taking note. ”By 2020, a pool of luxury brands such as Labiocos, Bodyography, and Victoria’s Secret are expected to clamor for the Indian consumer wallet and mindshare,” the report said.

While beauty brands such as L’Oréal, MAC, and Estée Lauder have been present in urban India for years now, it’s the markets outside the big cities that are the next frontier. Here, online retailers such as Nykaa, Amazon, and Flipkart are giving customers access to brands that aren’t available through mom & pop stores. Online sales account for $50 million, or 2%, of overall cosmetic sales in India, according to RedSeer.