Eco retail-tainment: Sustainability ‘key’ to long-term growth in travel retail – L’Oréal

By Amanda Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

L’Oréal Travel Retail has emphasised the importance of sustainability for long-term growth. L’Oréal Group / YSL Beauté
L’Oréal Travel Retail has emphasised the importance of sustainability for long-term growth. L’Oréal Group / YSL Beauté

Related tags: L'oréal, Sustainability, travel

L’Oréal Travel Retail has emphasised the importance of sustainability for long-term growth in the region’s travel retail market to meet consumer demand for more ‘meaningful’ shopping experiences.

The French cosmetic company’s highlight on sustainability comes at a crucial time as domestic travel in China has been restarting and escalating quickly.

“Domestic travel consumption in China is rebounding very quickly and strongly as the situation improves every day,” ​said Emmanuel Goulin, managing director at L’Oréal Travel Retail Asia Pacific.

This is pushing cosmetic companies like L’Oréal to ramp up pop-up initiatives in key locations like Haitang Bay.

“With China’s acceleration of consumption in post-lockdown, travellers share aspiration for enhanced innovative retail experience; pop-ups are strong retail expression and strategic for us to offer outstanding retail-tainment,” ​said Goulin.

He added that sustainability issues are becoming increasing important for consumers. “Consumers nowadays not only want the most efficient products and shopping experience; they want the most meaningful ones.”

Moving forward, the company believes sustainability will be a vital element to the future of growth in the travel retail industry.

“All of us want to ensure the future we build draws lessons from the current situation… sustainability will be key for long-term growth for domestic and international travel,” ​said Goulin.

This month, the company unviled the YSL Beauté Pure Shots pop-up in Haitang Bay Duty Free Shopping Complex, which is located in China’s duty-free haven of Sanya.

For this pop-up, the company has designed a 30m2 space with sustainable materials, such as FSC certified wood and recycled glass.

Furthermore, the materials were designed to be separable for circular end-of-life recycling purposes and parts of the fixtures were also designed to be further re-dressed and reused.

“Our ecologically designed pop-up is a great demonstration of how we can re-invent retail-tainment to make sustainability a priority,” ​said Goulin.

“The ecologically designed pop-up pushes boundaries to catalyse a positive change towards more sustainable retail-tainment, such as the usage of 100% certified paper, cardboard, wood, steel, glass and spray paint, reusable fixtures, and recycled and renewable materials.

Additionally, the pop-up introduces digital initiatives like the YSL Urban Skin Check, which offering travellers a quick five minutes diagnosis of their skin and tailoring skin care routine recommendations.

The patented ModiFace AI technology behind it uses a skin-scoring model based on over 10,000 images of women around the world.

“The crisis has profoundly accelerated digital transformation in Travel Retail across Asia Pacific.  Retail experience and the way pop-ups are activated need to be re-imagined, as innovations such as virtual try-ons and click-and-collect will continue to be in demand,”​ said Goulin.

COVID-19 effect

Despite the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) at the start of the outbreak, the company is assured of China’s travel retail market.

“We are very confident in the China Travel Retail market as the foundation for beauty consumption is solid,”​ said Goulin.

He noted that the pandemic has accelerated a few major trends in the market the travel retail division can tap on.

“Skincare has been the most resilient category, reflecting consumers’ demand for products linked to well-being and personal care. We are seeing a bigger impact on star iconisation; our bao kuan – or star products – such as the Night Reboot Serum from YSL’s Pure Shots series, remains dynamic.”

YSL Beauté’s Pure Shots targets those living in urban area with fast-paced lifestyles, which resonates with the busy lifestyle of the Chinese urbanite.

“With groundbreaking technology and rare ingredients, it helps women to ‘Live Fast, Stay Young’.  Its ingredients are sustainably sourced from Ourika Garden, and we commit to giving back to local communities by employing local women to harvest the plants, giving a purposeful meaning to the product beyond its efficacy.”

Additionally, themes that have risen in prominence during COVID-19, like hygiene, are expected to affect the travel retail channels as well.

“Travellers need to be reassured. With the enhanced focus on hygiene, wellness, product safety and greater transparency, dermocosmetics brands, such as SkinCeuticals and La Roche Posay, focusing on efficacy backed by strong medical claims and safe ingredients will be essential.”

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