In the past couple of years, the Dutch company has been expanding its presence in Asia Pacific, including China, Hong Kong, Macau and South Korea.
Last year, after facing delays brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the company reaffirmed its commitment to focus on expanding its business in China.
So far, the brand has been performing well in the Chinese market, recording strong performances via cross-border e-commerce channels such as Tmall, WeChat and Little Red Book.
“Our standalone stores in Hong Kong are outperforming our expectations and the first physical stores in Hainan have delivered encouraging initial results. All this gives us huge confidence in our ambition to replicate our European success in Greater China over the next five years,” said Melvin Broekaart, director for global travel retail, Rituals.
Rituals kicked off the new year with the unveiling of three new shop-in-shops in Hainan, the epicentre of China’s travel retail market, just in time for the Lunar New Year festivities.
Broekaart expressed confidence that Hainan will continue to be a key market, even when international travel recovers.
“Hainan and China, in general, are extremely important markets for our travel retail business. China has stated its intention to bring overseas consumption back to its domestic market, so growth is expected to continue,” he told CosmeticsDesign-Asia.
“Within ten years, China is expected to become the world’s largest consumer market, so it is essential we create brand desirability at travel locations frequented by Chinese travellers to stake a claim in this important region.”
Currently, Ritual’s APAC travel retail headquarters is based in Hong Kong, headed by Marjet de Vlieger.
“Having an on-the-ground presence in the region allows us to monitor the market carefully and act quickly when opportunities present themselves,” said Broekaart.
The launch of the three new stores is just beginning for Rituals in the Chinese travel retail market
“We have ambitious growth plans for travel retail in China. Our goal is to open more travel retail locations in Hainan and Mainland China,” said Broekaart.
Furthermore, Broekaart revealed that the company was set to open a new warehouse in China in the middle of this year, as well as a Shanghai office down the line.
“In May 2022, we will open our bonded and domestic warehouse in Mainland China which will enable us to shift our e-commerce business from cross-border to domestic and to service travel retail locations from the bonded part. The warehouse will be followed by the opening of a Rituals office in Shanghai.”
To celebrate the Hainan launch and further raise awareness the brand has created a buzz with a number of campaign promotions and activities. The brand also launched exclusive Lunar New Year products that launched simultaneously in Macau.
“The main priority is to build brand awareness in China, including Hainan, which we will do by establishing a presence in all key channels within travel retail, including hotels, airlines and downtown stores. With this approach, we will benefit from online and offline distribution with key players in the region,” Broekaart said.