Kao to accelerate skin protection agenda with focus on global sun care rollout

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Kao set to push its skin protection business with the global rollout of sun care and more innovations. [Bioré]
Kao set to push its skin protection business with the global rollout of sun care and more innovations. [Bioré]

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Japanese personal care major Kao Corporation set to push its skin protection business with the global rollout of sun care and novel innovations such as ‘next-generation’ body sheets.

The company, which owns brands Sensai and Molton Brown, reported that net sales decreased by 1.2% to JPY1,532.6bn (USD10.2bn) from JPY1,551.1bn (USD13.9bn) in the previous year.

However, operating income to decreased 45.5% to JPY60bn (USD398.4m), down from JPY110.1bn (USD733m) in the previous year.
This year the company said it would “improve both capital efficiency and growth”​ by accelerating the global growth potential of its skin protection business, led by its ultraviolet (UV) protection products.

It said it would accelerate the overseas expansion of skin care, led by UV care products in China, which it believes will be strengthened by the addition of Bondi Sands, an Australian self-tanning and sun protection brand.

“In 2024, in response to the strong demand, we are accelerating the rollout of our UV care products outside of Japan. We have already made a good start in China,” ​said Yoshihiro Hasebe, representative director, president, and chief executive of Kao.

Hasabe also hinted during the firm’s 2023 annual earnings conference that more innovations will reinforce its leadership in skin care.

“For example, this year, we will launch a product that will easily create an artificial skin that supports the skin’s healing process and also a product using next-generation cleaning technology that realises a level of cleansing that was deemed impossible. We will be announcing these in the near future.”

In 2023, the company said it was refocusing its efforts to become a leader in skin protection as it aimed to drive global growth as part of its part of its K27 mid-term plans.

The firm would focus on UV protection, self-tanning, and environmental protection.

The firm believes it can dominate the UV protection market globally with the strength of its Bioré sun care products.

“To reiterate our achievements in 2023, we laid the groundwork for expanding the skin protection business globally. For example, by leveraging Kao’s strong sales and marketing expertise, we have been extremely positive customer responses to Bioré products in Europe and Brazil,”​ said Hasabe.

In addition, the company also acquired Bondi Sands last year to strengthen the foundation of its skin protection business.

Next-generation body sheet

In addition to skin care, the company aims to build on its leadership in the body sheet market.

The company is considered a pioneer in this segment as it launched the Bioré Sara Sara Body Powder Sheets in 1999.

These wipes and its later iterations claim to relieve discomfort perspiration and keep skin cool and dry.

Today, Bioré leads the market as top-selling brand in the women’s perspiration wiping sheets category, according to Intage SRI+ data on cumulative sales from January 2017 to December 2023.

In March, the company said it would launch its latest body sheet, Bioré Zero, with upgraded technology.

“This is a next-generation sheet that keeps consumers comfortable even in hot and humid environments,”​ Kao claimed.

“This newly developed technology, long-lasting powder veil, uses high transpiration powder that continues to dry sweat and wraps around the skin like a veil, leaving it feeling dry for a long time.

“This is Bioré’s new skin protection proposal, based on the idea of applying a protective veil over your skin and keeping it comfortable for an extended period of time by continuing to dry perspiration.”

The development of this product was developed in response to the rising temperature, particularly in Japan where people experienced record-breaking heatwaves in the summer of 2023.

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