The Sydney-based manufacturer entered the Philippine market in early 2020 by launching three of its brands through supermarket retailers Robinsons Supermarket and Rustan’s Supermarket.
Peter Bosevski, global marketing and sales manager of G&M Cosmetics told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that the company faced difficulty in the subsequent months as it had chosen to enter the market through offline channels.
“We were advised to go the traditional way of launching into physical retail first. Usually, for other markets, we’ve done the opposite, going online first before moving into brick-and-mortar.”
The launch occurred before the pandemic hit the country, sending it into multiple strict lockdowns as the government struggled to contain the virus spread.
Even though both its retailers were allowed to operate, local consumers were drawing back and focusing their spending on essential items like food, sanitisers and toiletries.
This caused the company’s sales to be hit for three or four months.
“What we realised is that we had to be quick to act. If we do nothing and wait for people to go into the supermarkets, we would lose the exposure for our brands,” said Bosevski.
Recently, the company launched two online flagship stores on Lazada and Shopee, two prominent South East Asian e-commerce platforms.
“Previously, our research told us that the local consumers preferred to shop in person and that brick-and-mortar was very strong. E-commerce has been growing in the country, particularly in the areas outside the metros. But now with the virus, people’s shopping habits have changed and moving online,” said Bosevski.
The change was evident in the company’s performance on the platform, said Bosevski.
“In the first week that we launched on Lazada, we sold more in one week than one month in Robinsons.”
According to figures from the e-Conomy SEA 2019 report by Google, Temasek and Bain & Company, the Philippines’ Internet economy is expected to grow by more than three time to USD25m in 2025.
The same report also stated that the value of consumer goods was estimated to hit US12bn by 2025.
Despite the challenges and uncertainty it faces in the current climate, G&M Cosmetics is hoping to further its footprint in the Philippines.
The company believes its products fit in well with in the market given its reasonable price point.
“We position ourselves as being very value-for-money; our prices are competitive and affordable. What we see is that our pricing for both online and offline is attractive for the consumer and we believe we’ve seen a high uptake of our products because of our price point,” said Bosevski.
Aside from its friendly price tag, the company believes it occupies a unique position in the market as one of the few Australian skin care brands in the market.
According to Bosevski, the company’s best-selling products in the market at the moment are those that are considered ‘iconic’ Aussie ingredients such as emu oil, lanolin, goat milk and manuka honey.
“A large portion of the population is young with disposable income to spend on themselves. And this demographic is looking for something new and unique. They are looking for something different from the brands they are used to – the brands from the big MNCs,” Bosevski elaborated.
Moving forward, the company has plans to introduce more of its brands, such as Pure Papaya, into the market through both online and offline channels.
“We still want to go by the traditional brick-and-mortar way at the same time. The idea is the balance the brands. At the moment, the brands we have on e-commerce are our ‘value-for-money’ brands. As we move forward and introduce more of our premium brands into the market, we will look at the department stores,” said Bosevski.
He concluded: “As we operate, we will learn more. If consumer shopping habits change in the local market, we as a brand owner have to keep up with that too.”