Is it time up for beauty boxes in Asia already?

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

Is it time up for beauty boxes in Asia already?

Related tags Southeast asia

Just last year we were reporting that beauty boxes were making in-roads in Asia, particularly in the Southeast and Korea. Now, some analysts say the market may be over saturated with the ‘all too easy to replicate’ subscription services.

Then by the second half of 2013, the number of beauty box companies in Southeast Asia had already shrunk from 51 to less than 20.

According to Douglas Gan, CEO of Singapore-based beauty box business 'VanityTrove', whilst the launch of these subscription service brands was met with strong media publicity, the rapid demise for some has been slowly and quietly.

The problem is limited availability of beauty samples. The demand is there, but the supply is not.” Ultimately, it boils down to the fact that the marketing budgets of cosmetics companies in Asia aren’t that great​,” Gan told regional publication ‘Tech In Asia’.

Speaking on his company's own challenges, Gan reveals the brand was four months in when; "we realized we could not build out a $100 million subscription commerce business due to the limited sampling supply.”

Over the next 14 month period, VanityTrove tried many ways to expand, including online retail, events, workshops, and even social media management services to pull figures up.

We decided to focus on value, asset-driven businesses, like a social platform that can facilitate all of the above very easily. Empower the consumers at the foundation level, and you can activate anything,​" the publication reported.

Could it also be that South East Asia's e-commerce platform is not developed?

Despite the news that this segment may be over before it really got a chance to take off, other brands like Little Black Beauty Box, Glamabox, BellaBox, Black Box Malaysia – Modbox, CosmoBox, The Lilac Box, Mivva Box are still working to make ends meet.

However; Terrence Lee of market researcher SGE Insights believes that there may be questions as to whether or not it is a good idea to continue to roll out this concept in Southeast Asia.

Lee points to the fact that one of the biggest international players, Rocket Internet, has decided not to roll out its Glossybox concept in Southeast Asian countries, stating that the company has avoided this move ‘like a plague’.

"This problem mainly stems from logistical challenges relating to the fact that Indonesia is a vast country comprising over 17,000 islands, which simply makes delivering the beauty boxes a significant challenge."

Lee also states that the postal delivery service in the country is both unreliable and one of the most expensive in the region.

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