More than skin deep: Redefinition of beauty driving women to focus on sustainability and health – Watsons CEO

By Amanda Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

The changing perception of beauty is leading women to focus on sustainable beauty products and beauty supplements. [Getty Images]
The changing perception of beauty is leading women to focus on sustainable beauty products and beauty supplements. [Getty Images]

Related tags: Sustainability, beauty supplements, watsons

The changing perception of beauty is leading women to focus on sustainable beauty products and beauty supplements, says the CEO of health and beauty retailer Watsons

Watsons conducted two surveys to gain insight into the inner workings of the modern woman.

One survey polled 11,000 women across 12 markets in Asia and Europe to find out how women defined beauty.

The company said that the point of the survey was to understand how women’s perception of beauty has evolved, especially in the last two challenging years with COVID-19.

The results revealed that inner beauty was becoming a crucial barometer of beauty. Overall, 75% of women agreed that inner beauty was more important than physical beauty.

This view was shared among many markets including the Philippines (96%), Malaysia (91%), Thailand (86%), Hong Kong (83%) and Taiwan (82%).

Inner beauty was defined by feeling healthy and contributing positively to their communities and the planet.

“Inner beauty is the real beauty of a woman that goes far beyond how you look,”​ said Malina Ngai, CEO of A.S. Watson, Asia and Europe.

“Women think that the most beautiful thing in their life is to do good to family and friends, community and planet, and staying healthy. It means that doing good and taking care of your physical and mental health can make you feel good, beautiful, and confident, which are essential to cultivating women’s inner beauty,” ​she told CosmeticsDesign-Asia.

Ngai said that the survey reflects the growing interest in sustainable beauty products Watsons has observed.

The company has been working to increase its curation of such products in recent years and currently offers over 1,600 sustainable beauty and personal care products.

Furthermore, last year it co-created a sustainability-led skin care brand with Procter & Gamble.

To enable consumers to lead a more sustainable lifestyle, Watsons has its sights set on increasing its sustainable beauty choices.

This would include clean beauty products, products that have eco-conscious ingredients and packaging, as well as products that promote reusing and refilling.

Health is beauty

In another survey, Watsons evaluated women’s self-confidence. It involved over 3,100 women from China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

The results showed that almost half of women considered themselves low in confidence. Over 70% experienced challenges balancing work and family while 50% did not feel satisfied in their career progression.

According to the survey, 59% of women considered being “healthy inside out”​ was key to gaining confidence.

Ngai highlighted that during the pandemic, Watsons Asia’s health category saw year-on-year growth of over 60% in e-commerce sales.

“Our customer insights show that almost 70% health product shoppers are female, meaning that women tend to look for health products to keep themselves healthy,”​ said Ngai.

To better cater to the needs of women, Watsons has launched more supplements developed for women in particular in recent years, such as TRU NIAGEN Beauty, a supplement developed in collaboration with ChromaDex.

“The products have been well-received and achieved over 60% year-on-year growth. We believe the demand for supplements for women will continue to gain traction.”

In line with International Women’s Day Watsons is launching The New Beautiful​ campaign. Building on the new findings, the firm will launch a series of programmes to encourage women’s empowerment.

In Indonesia, a ‘Girls Support Girls’ sharing session will be held across universities. In the Philippines, Watsons has partnered with Operation Smile to launch a Women in Medicine​ programme to empower women in the field of medical science.

Watsons will also be holding programmes in Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan.

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