The global market for skin lighteners is projected to reach $19.8 billion by 2018, driven by the growing desire for light-coloured skin among both men and women primarily from the Asian, African and Middle East regions.
Skin whitening products represents one of the rapidly growing segments in the global beauty industry, with manufacturers capitalizing on consumers’ desire for fair skin, in these regions.
Although skin-whitening products were initially aimed at facial care, the trend has changed with companies offering products for overall skin care, and the demand for male skin brightening and lightening products is now on the rise too, particularly in Asia.
Growth and demand
GIA says that growth in the market is forecast to be driven by strong demand in Asia-Pacific, as the popularity of skin whiteners grows in the region, particularly in India, Japan, and China, where fair skin is associated with youth, beauty, and prosperity.
According to GIA’s research, Japan represents the largest market worldwide, as consumers, especially women, are known to spend more on skin lightening products than women in other countries.
Asia-Pacific is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 13.3 per cent over the analysis period led primarily by India and China.
India's obsession for fairness is aptly represented by the dominance of fairness products in the domestic skincare market. Fairness products account for over 45 per cent of the skin care market and is continuing to grow at double-digit rates annually.
The market is also witnessing robust demand from Middle East, as strong economic growth, rising standards of living, expanding base of middle class population, increased per capita spends on beauty and wellness products, and growing discrimination based on colour or skin tone are key factors driving growth.
Skin lightening is a relatively smaller market in the West when compared to Asia. In the West, skin lighteners are primarily marketed as anti-ageing products that are intended to deliver benefits such as reduction of freckles and spots.
In countries such as the US and the UK, rising demand for skin whiteners is attributed to the increase in immigration and the resulting expansion in the base of ethnic groups.