THIS MONTH, KANEBO IS LAUNCHING WHAT IT BE-lieves to be the most expensive body cream on the market.
At $400 for 6.7 oz, indeed Sensai Premier Body Cream outpaces at least one of the category’s most prestigious competitors, La Mer, which sells its body cream for $195, a bargain — comparatively speaking — for a 10.3-oz jar.
But will consumers think the product is worthy of such a price tag?
“We are pretty confident that the body cream will be just the right fit and we are quite confident the consumer will respond to it,” said Juliano Gomis, national training director, Kanebo Cosmetics USA. Sensai Premier, the high-end range within Kanebo’s beauty product portfolio, which launched in 2005, traditionally does not take price into account when formulating new items, hence the larger retail for its items.
“Kanebo R&D mainly designs Sensai Premier regardless of how it will be perceived in the economy of our market. We want to provide answers to consumers and their request of what would be the ultimate body cream,” Gomis said.
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Regardless of today’s ecomony, he added, “We have not seen a downturn in sales.”
Sales of Sensai Premier comprise about 30 percent of Kanebo’s overall U.S. sales, which it is estimated will reach between $10.5 million and $11 million by the end of 2008, a rise of between 5 percent and 10 percent from last year.
To find out what women want in a body cream, the company conducted a survey asking European women what they were looking for in their skin care. Answers included anti-cellulite remedies, products for legs, bust and hands, and their overall body.
To create a body cream for Sensai Premier, Kanebo scientists tapped into the firm’s 2007 launch of Body Firming Cream under its lower-priced range, Sensai Cellular Performance, which sells for $130 per 7-oz. jar. This cream uses exclusive technology, such as extracts from Oriental medicinal shelf fungus to address water metabolism and to prevent puffiness and bloating. But further R&D was need to create the ultimate cream under Premier, “regardless of price,” said Gomis.
The result is a combination of new formulas, including seaweed extracts from the Sea of Japan to help support DNA repair function in skin; ingredients from the Chinese Mulberry shrub, to boost collagen synthesis in the skin, and a Moon Flower fragrance, which the company ascribes to helping stimulate hyaluronic acid synthesis.
“These ingredients allow us to present Sensai Premier as the ultimate body cream,” said Gomis.
The new item will be arriving at selected Barneys New York and Saks Fifth Avenue locations, as well as high-end perfumeries in the U.S., Bergdorf Goodman and Takashimaya.
In-store events, direct mail via retailers and invitations are planned to help drive Kanebo consumers to counters.