L’Oréal’s India ambitions: CEO expresses resolve to grow on the back of e-commerce acceleration

By Amanda Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

L'Oréal aiming to grow business in the booming Indian beauty market. [L'Oréal]
L'Oréal aiming to grow business in the booming Indian beauty market. [L'Oréal]

Related tags: L'oréal, India, Cosmetics, Skin care, China

L’Oréal Group CEO Nicolas Hieronimus is aiming to grow the firm’s business in the booming Indian beauty market on the back of the acceleration of e-commerce in the country.

Speaking during the firm’s latest first-quarter earnings conference, Hieronimus said India was up 20%, mainly driven by its professional business, mass skin care products, as well as the acceleration of e-commerce in the market.

While this is good news, he admitted that the firm could improve its presence in India​. “What I want to say about India is that we are too small there. It’s one of the markets in the world where we have one of our lowest market shares.”

The French beauty giant has the opportunity to grow its presence in India’s mass beauty market, with its consumer brands, which include household names like L’Oréal Paris, Maybelline, and Garnier.

“One of the key ambitions of our team in India and our consumer division – because it's really a mass-market business – is to continue to accelerate and bring our market share to where it should be,” ​said Hieronimus.

He elaborated that the firm could leverage the rapid growth of e-commerce in India to accelerate its growth.

“It will take me some time but… considering the fact that our market share in e-commerce is superior to our market share in brick-and-mortar, and that the market that is really accelerating is e-commerce, I think we are in a good position to improve on our score in this very beautiful and huge country.”

Strong Q1 in APAC

Despite the challenges in markets like China, L’Oréal reported growth across all Asia, with North Asia and South Asia Pacific, Middle East and North Africa (SAPMENA) zones recording a growth of 18% and 18.7% sales growth respectively.

In North Asia, L’Oréal significantly outperformed the market despite several headwinds, such as the COVID-19 outbreaks in Hong Kong as well as several Chinese cities, which saw the return of strict lockdown and travel restrictions.

Hieronimus expressed confidence that the company would continue to see mid-to-high single-digit growth in this region.

“The Chinese market is going to continue to grow into becoming the number one beauty market in the world.There are 370 million people that will enter the middle classes by 2030. We today only sell to about 100 million out of the 600 [million], which is our addressable target.

“Plus, all the new brands we are bringing into China – we’ve launched Valentino, we’re bringing in Prada – we have a few other cards up our sleeves and we will do everything to continue to grow that market.”

SAPMENA the performance was driven by the strong recovery in South East Asia and South Asia, in particular, strong sales in India and the Gulf countries.

Overall, L’Oréal reported like-for-like growth of 19% on a reported basis, achieving sales of EUR9.06bn (U$9.53bn).

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