Despite global tourism woes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the growth of L’Oréal’s travel retail division has been positive, largely due to its performance in APAC – especially in Hainan.
“The foundation for beauty consumption is solid in Travel Retail China, and we are experiencing strong dynamic in all three categories – skin care, makeup, and fragrances,” said Emmanuel Goulin, Managing Director at L’Oréal Travel Retail Asia Pacific.
Among the three categories, the firm said the demand for skin care continues to be a driving force in terms of growth.
“Skin care is off to a very good start this year and continues to be buoyant, particularly for premium anti-ageing and couture skin care,” said Goulin.
The strength of the skin care category can be attributed to the firm’s solid portfolio of successful brands.
“We have a very strong position in skin care amongst Chinese travellers, and it is driven by brands such as Lancôme, L’Oréal Paris, Kiehl’s, Helena Rubinstein and Biotherm which have long been driving consumer loyalty. Skinceuticals and La Roche Posay, which are perfectly aligned with the health aspirations of travellers, also registered extremely well and have still a strong potential of growth,” said Goulin.
While skin care may continue to lead, the firm also sees growth potential in other categories as well, such as fragrance.
“The fragrance category presents a great opportunity of growth in the medium and long term. Giorgio Armani and Yves Saint Laurent are performing extremely well with their respective female blockbusters, Sì Passione and Libre… We have also launched new brands such as Maison Margiela, which is having a very promising start in Hainan,” said Goulin.
He emphasised that the firm sees immense potential for all beauty categories and will make investments accordingly.
“Our plan remains to offer beauty for all travellers and to invest on all categories, leveraging on our powerful brand portfolio from the most accessible to the most luxurious, and from dermo-cosmetics to hair care.”
With more focus on Hainan in the near future, the company will be investing more into the market.
“With our 10 years of experience in Hainan, the plan is to further expand our brand portfolio in this strategic region,” said Goulin.
He added that among its many brands, the company will soon be launching Valentino Beauty in Hainan.
“We are very excited to soon launch Valentino Beauty in Travel Retail Asia Pacific. The collection creates a unique bond between couture fashion and beauty, which resonates well with Chinese travellers’ trend for premiumisation; they are looking for beauty products with higher performance and superior product quality.”
L'Oréal inked a deal with Valentino in 2018 for a long-term license agreement for the creation, development and distribution of fine fragrances and luxury beauty under the fashion label.
“Valentino Beauty also celebrates self-expression putting emphasis on diversity and inclusion, aligning perfectly with what Chinese consumers are looking for today. The couture make-up will open to all genders, ages and cultures, and we look forward to creating a meaningful dialogue with Chinese travellers soon,” said Goulin.
Sustainability at the forefront
With awareness of environmental issues becoming a significant issue for travellers. Sustainability is increasingly at the heart of the firm’s innovations in travel retail.
The company recently showcased its latest sustainability and technology concepts at the inaugural Hainan edition of China International Consumer Product Expo (CICPE).
“The first edition of the Hainan Expo underlies the important message in building Hainan into an international tourism and consumption centre; L’Oréal’s participation demonstrates our commitment to further develop business in this strategic region and offer exclusive beauty experiences to travellers,” said Goulin.
During the occasion, the firm highlighted one of its latest sustainability-focused initiatives, Biotherm x Coco Capitán, a collaboration to raise awareness of how climate change is threatening the health of phytoplankton living in our oceans.
The collaboration took a tech-driven approach with an immersive 360-degree room to educate visitors on ocean preservation in an ‘interactive and meaningful way’.
“We will be featuring a 360° Biotherm x Coco Capitán immersive room to provide a purposeful journey for visitors to raise awareness of how climate change is affecting the Blue Lung – our world’s oceans. Visitors will get to learn about Biotherm’s longstanding sustainability commitment and engage with each commitment through an interactive screen,” said Goulin.
In addition to the showcase, the company partnered with One Planet Foundation to tackle marine litter on Hainan’s Wuzhizhou Island, which took place three weeks prior to the expo.
Furthermore, the firm’s 500m² event pavilion was constructed consciously with ecologically produced and certified materials as well as reused fixtures from previous events in Hainan.
Goulin said it was crucial for the company to place eco-friendly design at the centre of its innovations for the future of its business as well as the planet.
“We believe at L’Oréal that the beauty of the future will be more sustainable, fuelled by innovation, and powered by tech – and we brought this to life at our purpose-driven pavilion… With our size in travel retail, I am convinced that everything we do can have a meaningful impact.”