The other essential mask: COVID-19 pandemic encouraging daily use of facial sheet masks in Asia
While facial sheet masks can be considered a ubiquitous product in the Asian region, specialty fibres company Lenzing believes the market still holds huge potential.
“The market size in terms of consumption and production will continue to grow with the CAGR for the upcoming five years expected to be double-digit,” said Oliver Sum, regional commercial director, North Asia, nonwovens at Lenzing AG.
One of the factors driving this growth is the change in consumer habits brought about by COVID-19.
“When COVID-19 impacted us, you can imagine people using more facial sheet masks during the self-quarantine period because people couldn’t visit beauty salons. You can say that the pandemic has supported the popularity of using facial sheet mask as a daily necessity and this trend will continue to grow,” said Sum.
Additionally, COVID-19 has brought about new skin care issues such as protective face mask-induced acne and skin inflammation.
“This is encouraging manufacturers to develop products dedicated to solving these products. We need skin care steps to protect our skin against these protective masks and I predict there will be increased demand for sheet masks that help with sensitive skin and strengthen the skin barrier,” she said.
Furthermore, facial sheet mask usage has yet to penetrate and saturate many markets in the region such as India, Thailand and Indonesia.
“Markets like Indonesia, Thailand and India are all in the starting phase of using facial sheet masks. There’s huge potential just due to the high population and they are very beauty-focused as well,” said Sum.
However, leading the all the markets is China with the increasing consumption of facial sheet masks and the untapped potential in lower-tier cities.
“In China, over 90% of consumers use facial sheet masks every week, and the trend is that it will use it daily. It’s not just in the top tier cities like Beijing or Shanghai. Many of the big skin care brands are focusing on the tier three and four cities. In these markets, facial sheet masks are totally new to them,” said Sum.
She added that beauty brands could also tap into the emerging male beauty category, noting that L’Oréal launched a very successful sheet mask targeted at men that it eventually expanded into France.
Moving forward, beauty brands will have to keep up with the increasingly high expectations of consumers, said Sum.
“Facial sheet masks are considered a well-developed product in APAC so you can expect their requirements to be higher in terms function. Nowadays, consumers don’t want a sheet mask with basic functions like moisturising, but more targeted masks for the eyes or anti-ageing.”
Sum elaborated that consumers were expecting brands to produce different sizes of sheet masks, like clothes.
“Consumers want a sheet mask that are searching for masks that can fit their facial contours nicely. And there are more requests for different sizes. If you look at the difference between Chinese and Koreans, for example, there’s a huge difference in face size.”
She added that quality and sustainability of the sheet mask itself plays a crucial role as well.
“The touch of the fabric is very important. Consumers want it to be soft, gentle on the skin – a tender touch. These are key features they look for. Additionally, because the awareness of sustainability is increasing, consumers are seeking more natural and sustainable materials.”
To keep up with these consumer demands, Lenzing has recently launched the new generation of its eco-friendly fibres.
LENZING Lyocell Fine Skin and LENZING Lyocell Micro Skin fibers under its specialty non-woven ingredient brand VEOCEL and feature Lenzing’s patented translucency technology to giving it ‘tender, luxurious feeling’ on the skin.
Aside from the new products, Lenzing has also debuted its Where-to-Buy section on its website, which lists the brands that uses VEOCEL branded fibres in their sheet masks to enhance much-desired transparency, said Sum.
“Consumers now want to know what they buy and they number one concern they have is about safety and if it’s a clean product. With Where-to-Buy, we make the whole supply chain more transparent.”