Kao revamps est in response to the growing demand of premium skin care in Asia

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Kao is relaunching the est brand with “high added value” skin care products. ©Kao
Kao is relaunching the est brand with “high added value” skin care products. ©Kao
Personal care conglomerate Kao is relaunching the est brand with “high added value” skin care products to tap into the growing demand for prestige beauty in Asia.

By repositioning est as part of its premium beauty portfolio, Kao hopes to strengthen its position in the global cosmetics market.

The company has observed that more beauty products released on the Japanese skin care market are being positioned as premium products. Such products typically cost more than JPY10,000 ($94) and are emerging in the department store segment in particular.

A survey by Kao has shown a growing desire among consumers to spend on beauty products and beauty treatments, not just in Japan but in other parts of Asia like China and Singapore.

The Japanese company believes this consumption upgrade in beauty will continue to drive the growth of the cosmetics market in APAC region.

The new product range is priced from JPY11,500 ($108) to JPY12,000 ($113)before taxes. It will be available in Japan in November before launching in South Korea.

In Spring 2020, the firm plans to expand the brand to Singapore, where est already enjoys a presence. Additionally, it plans to extend the brand footprint into China and Hong Kong as part of its ongoing plans to accelerate business in APAC.

New high-value products

The new range of anti-ageing products will form the core of the brand, which emphasises on a three-step skincare routine with three types of serums: a foam-type, lotion-type and emulsion-type serum.

All three serums contain the brand’s advanced ingredient, GP Cycle Complex.

In addition to the skin care launches, est is also launching a range of base make-up. The line consists of three products and one tool and ranges from JPY1,200 ($11) to JPY13,000 ($122)

The est Glowing Cream Makeup will feature as the brand’s signature make-up product. Unlike conventional foundations, Kao said the foundation will mimic a skin cream in terms of feel for comfortable wear.

The make-up range will debut in Japan early November and is scheduled to launch in South Korea by the end of this year.

Kao plans to extend the range further overseas with launches in Hong Kong and Singapore targeted for autumn 2020.

Banking on cosmetics

In the first half of this year, Kao’s cosmetics business showed strong performance with sales and operating income saw an increase in Japan and across Asia.

Net sales achieved like-for-like growth of 10.3% to hit JPY140bn. Kao attributed this as a result of the the growth of its G11 portfolio, which saw a 19% increase in sales. Operating income was JPY14.7bn ($138.2m), an increase of JPY7.4bn ($69.5m) from a year before.

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