1. What did the facial mask sector look like in 2017?
The facial mask sector is still very much a fast-paced category. Innovation activity in 2017 saw the facial mask market focus heavily on formats and textures, evolving from what it used to be: a standard paper mask.
Today, we have a wide variety of masks in formats that range from fabric, hydrogel, to even rubber.
2. What are its biggest growth opportunities?
There are definite opportunities in the premiumisation of masks. One such opportunity lies in ‘high-end sheet masks’ that incorporate aesthetic salon or plastic surgery equivalent treatments (that can be used at home), and differentiate themselves from the luxurious versions of moisturising sheet masks.
This is especially important for the Asian region where micro cosmetic surgery is common and deemed as a trend. Consumer upgrade is increasingly prominent in Asia, particularly as the region sees a rising middle-class population in countries such as China and Thailand.
3. What have been its biggest challenges and drawbacks?
Asian consumers are known to be the biggest users of facial masks, with masks being included as part of their regular skin care routines.
Mintel research reveals that 53% of Chinese Millennial females agree that facial masks are the best first-aid skin care products, while three in four Chinese consumers use sleeping masks in the evening.
While Asian consumers are the key target markets for many in the industry, they are also among the most challenging audiences when it comes to sustaining consumer interest, especially since the facial mask has successfully penetrated into their beauty regimes.
To overcome this, more and more beauty brands are increasing their investments in product development—all to launch innovative introductions that will stand out in this saturated market.
4. Where have innovations come from within this sector?
Japan and South Korea are big markets for mask innovations; consumers in these countries include masks—at least once a day, sometimes twice a day—in their daily routines.
The high consumer usage in Japan, for example, has led to the launch of large bundle packs of facial masks by Japanese brands like LuLuLun and Saborino.
These large packs provide consumers with convenience as masks can be easily pulled out from the package—just like how consumers access wet tissues.
The second part of this interview will be published on Monday 22nd January 2018.