Skin care boost: Kao looks to Curél to strengthen position in UK and US markets
The brand is part of the group’s 11 strategic global brands of its G11 cosmetics portfolio. As such, it is crucial to the company’s strategy to strengthen its presence in the global cosmetics market.
Hiwako Yoshino, a spokesperson for the company, told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that Curél’s entry into the UK is a starting point for a European expansion.
“Kao plans to accelerate the growth of G11 in Asia and the European market, which continues to grow and have high cosmetic sensitivity. Curél, one of the G11, is following the strategy and starting the business in the UK as the beginning for Europe,” said Yoshino.
Back in July, the firm’s cosmetics business reported mid-single-digit growth in the first half of the year, largely due to the popularity of the prestige brand, Sensai.
Sales in Americas, however, experienced a 5.8% dip.
Yoshino said the company hopes to capitalise on the brand awareness of Curél to boost its position in the US market. “We decided to enter the US, which is the birthplace of the brand, where there is already brand recognition.”
She further highlighted the potential for Curél in the US, where the sensitive skin care market was estimated to be worth about $1.8bn and continues to show growth potential.
Yoshino added that the trend seems to be similar in the UK, where the sensitive skin category is growing according to data from retail chains.
“According to the survey conducted, it was found that nearly 40% of women in the US and UK recognised their facial skin as sensitive skin. This is higher than in Japan and other Asian countries, so we recognise that there are more consumers with skin problems that Curél can help,” said Yoshino.
Before the launch of the brand, the company has distributed products to some consumers as well as beauty advisors which responded positively to the brand.
“Due to the fact that it has been well-received for its comfort and effectiveness, we believe that there will be high consumer acceptance in the US and UK,” said Yoshino.
Curél will launch with six SKUs through Boots in the UK and Ulta Beauty in the US. Kao said it expects to be available in around 100 Boots outlets and 400 Ulta Beauty outlets, in addition to the respective online platforms.
Curél was founded in 1984 in the US. It was acquired 14 years later by Kao, which improved the range with its proprietary ceramide care technology.
Kao launched the brand in the Asia Pacific region in 2009, starting with Hong Kong and expanding to the rest of Asia.
In the last decade, Curél has become a popular choice for Asian consumers looking for dry and sensitive skin solutions. Kao claims that Curél is currently Japan’s top-selling brand in the sensitive skin face care category.