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The rise of facial and hair masks in Asia

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Facial masks – a trend that has its roots in Asia – are big news in the beauty industry. ‘Masking’ was the most searched-for skincare term earlier this year, according to Google statistics, and manufacturers are now taking varied and innovative approaches in textures and materials. According to Transparency Market Research, the global sheet face masks market is expected to reach $336.7m by the end of 2024 (evaluated at $160.4m in 2015). The market research group projects year-on-year growth of 8.7% from 2016 to 2024.

Analysts have identified emerging economies such as Indonesia, Argentina, China, Brazil and India as lucrative markets for sheet face masks for the next few years. The strengthening economies of these countries, growing disposable incomes and changing lifestyles are all expected to make a significant contribution to the rising revenue of the global market. These markets will also benefit from the increasingly strong presence of manufacturers in the region .

According to Mintel, convenience is a key factor affecting the development of the facial mask market. More formats that are introduced in Asia Pacific are looking to offer increased levels of convenience; they are winning over a growing pool of consumers, especially as there is almost something for everyone.

The original facial mask has inspired different mask categories and we are seeing significant growth in the hair mask subcategory. Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) shows that there was a 43% increase in global hair mask launches from September 2015 to August 2017. Hair treatment has always been the answer to damages caused by hair appliances; however, other hair related concerns have emerged in recent years. Consumers are now increasingly concerned about damage caused by external factors like UV rays and pollution. Recently, intensive hair treatment products have evolved into hair sheet masks formats that offer consumers convenience without compromising on the concentrated contents—benefits that can be found in leave-on hair treatment products.

While still niche, foot care masks hold potential for growth as we see more and more innovations within this subcategory, from masks that help to moisturise or exfoliate the feet to ampoule foot masks. There has been a growing interest to care for the feet through a mask format.

Asia’s beauty market has long been recognised as a pioneer in the traditional facial mask category and has been driving the trends within the facial masks sector for a long time. While the western market is considered a late bloomer and is lagging behind in facial mask innovation, we are starting to see more and more releases in the region—a positive sign that facial masks are well-received by western consumers. Hollywood celebrities are also helping to spread the trend far and wide through their digital platforms.

In terms of facial mask innovations, Asia continues to keep the category active with launches that come in various materials and textures. Western consumers, today, are showing interest in Asian ingredients, reflecting the rising popularity of Asia’s beauty market in the west. This brings about market expansion and penetration opportunities for Asian companies and brands.

Meanwhile, facial masking routines differ in both regions, especially as masking regimes have become increasingly segmented over the years. Consumers in Asia are using different types of masks for different times of the day, while consumers in Europe are doing the typical and using masks for their nightly routines.

The facial mask category continues to see steady growth with innovations launching in a myriad of formats, materials and ingredients. Consumers have included masks as part of their regular skincare regimes and product usage has increased. Facial masks that come in bigger packs are now in the market, and this suggests a daily usage pattern among consumers. Similarly, the launch of facial masks that are specially designed for day and night usage reflects this increase in market penetration.

As part of a new Spotlight On Facial Masks feature at in-cosmetics Asia from 31 October to 2 November, Sharon Kwek of Mintel will share her expertise on this trend. A presentation at the Marketing Trends and Regulations stage on 1 November from 1-1.45pm will explore the latest updates and expectations for future growth within this fast-paced, exciting sector.

The feature will include a dedicated product area showcasing active and functional ingredients and mask materials that are specifically suited to face or eye mask creation.