"We typically get four times more young customers compared with department stores and four times more men than department stores," Ravi Thakran, the Asia and Middle East president for Sephora’s parent company LVMH, told The Age.
"What it means is we're able to recruit people to the brand much earlier and men don't have to feel embarrassed by asking at the counter, they can just go and try everything,” he confirmed.
The retailer is expected to launch in Australia at the end of this year, looking to open its first local store in December.
Sephora’s upcoming expansion into Australia participates in the ongoing diversification of the region’s cosmetics market, and will mean domestic players will need to continue to up their game with innovation.
The beauty retail giant is reported to have declined offers by the country’s major department stores to open as outlets within their retail units, opting instead to launch stand-alone stores.
Sharing the market
Sephora denies claims that its market entry in Australia will hamper the sales of its two nearest competitors, the Myer and David Jones department store chains, noting that it intends to expand the market rather than undercut it.
"If not for Sephora, the south-east Asian market would have shrunk," Thakran said, referring to the region’s 0.5% growth in 2013, where Sephora saw growth in some countries as high as 40%.
"That's what we are looking to provide to the Australian market; not taking market share but building the market,"he confirmed.
The brand hopes that sales will reach $225 million to $250 million, and market share to reach double-digit levels by 2019.
Meeting consumer demands
According to market research firm Euromonitor, ‘time-saving’, ‘instant gratification’, ‘mini luxury’ and ‘long-lasting’ are product claims increasingly demanded by antipodean consumers.
The launch of such a major retail player onto a previously fairly uncompetitive landscape will make responding to such consumer demands a high priority.