The L’Oréal-owned brand traces its roots back to 1902 as the brainchild of its eponym, the Polish-American businesswoman Helena Rubinstein.
Helena Rubinstein has been present in the Mainland China Travel Retail market for over two decades. In addition, the brand is also available in Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, Japan, Singapore and Thailand in Travel Retail APAC.
In the last few years, the luxury brand has been quietly building its presence in APAC before making a splash with its first travel retail Asia pop-up in South Korea in 2019, which targeted Chinese travellers.
General Manager of Helena Rubinstein Travel Retail Asia Pacific Petrina Kho told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that since then, the firm has been ‘very happy’ with the brand’s performance in the China’s travel retail market.
Kho attributed the brand’s performance to the popularity of its products among the Chinese and its celebrity affiliation with Chinese pop diva Faye Wong.
“Our iconic products, such as REPLASTY Age Recovery Night Cream and POWERCELL Skinmunity Serum, have been very popular among Chinese travellers, and also to highlight our brand’s avant-garde ambassador, Faye Wong, enabled us to stay relevant in the Mainland China market,” said Kho.
She added that the brand can tap into the consumer need for high-performing cosmetic products to drive further growth in the market.
“Chinese travellers need reassurance during the pandemic and demand for higher-quality and safer products. With Helena Rubinstein’s extreme performance of formulas, through high concentrations of active ingredients, associated with highly luxurious and exquisite textures, we are responding very well to the market demand,” said Kho.
Banking on domestic travel in China
With domestic travel consumption in China on the rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, the brand aims to focus its efforts to tap into the Hainan market, which remains of the top destination for Chinese travellers.
Last December, the brand capitalised on the peak travel season and collaborated with China Duty Free Group to debut its first-ever online-to-offline premium luxury travel event in Sanya, Hainan.
The event was held at the sprawling 2,355sqm poolside luxury estate at The Sanya EDITION with over 100 selected VIP guests.
The guests were invited to afternoon tea, 24K pure gold leaf hand massage, and got to trial the Helena Rubinstein skin analyser.
The device is the result of 12 years of research and development. It was developed with 80,000 skin profiles and can provide consumers with expert skin diagnosis, predictive analysis and personalised skin care recommendations.
The event also hosted a livestreaming session with beauty influencers Teacher Xu and Kakakaoo, which garnered over 25 million viewers.
“This first-ever Helena Rubinstein Travel Retail villa offered new ways of building special relationships with our online and offline beauty travellers. We look forward to more innovative collaborations to come with China Duty Free Group in offering digitised and personalised premium service to travellers in Hainan,” said Kho.
With the rapid recovery of China’s travel retail market, and the success of its first online-to-offline event, Kho said the firm was optimistic about the brand’s potential in the market.
“We remain confident in the Mainland China travel retail market, and it is one of the key growth markets for Helena Rubinstein Travel Retail Asia Pacific.”
Kho added that the firm is eye opportunities for the Helena Rubinstein brand in the wider APAC market.
“The plan is to further expand our presence in Travel Retail Asia Pacific with the condition that we have the best traveller base, best location and best business conditions.”