SHANGHAI — Li & Fung’s beauty division LF Beauty is inviting Asian beauty companies into its Shanghai headquarters until the end of May to unveil the latest work of its research and development team.
LF Beauty is showcasing its latest developments in terms of product formulation, packaging, accessories, instruments and point of sale displays to its clients. Representatives from Amore Pacific and local giant Shanghai Jahwa have already put in an appearance at the event, called “Creative Days.” This is the second time LF Beauty has hosted such an event, with the first held in Paris late last year.
Key takeaways from the event include:
– Gel formulations that can be dispensed as a moisturizing mist, giving consumers the impression of a formulation that is more substantial than traditionally misting watery liquids.
– Lipstick packaging in luxe materials, such as textured leather.
– Clever travel-friendly packaging such as nail polish fitted to a ring (so the bottle can be worn when applying, rather than needing a surface to rest on).
– Silicone perfume packaging that can double as fashion jewelry.
– Interactive point of sale displays that, for example, register when a customer picks up a product and automatically flashes product info onto a screen attached to the shelving. Or mirrors with built-in screens that make it easy for customers to follow along with a beauty tutorial.
LF Beauty president Gerard Raymond said particularly important trends for beauty in Asia will be the men’s category, as well as an increasingly confident female Asian consumer.
“We’ve got some issues in places like China and India where a history of gender selection has resulted in imbalances that are hitting now. In 2020, there will be four single Chinese men for every single woman, which opens up a huge opportunity in the male market, as we are already seeing in Korea. It’s happening throughout Asia,” he said.
There’s little doubt there are still significant growth opportunities for beauty businesses in Asia, and particularly in China, where Euromonitor International estimates the country’s skin care and cosmetics products market will grow at an average annual rate of 12.8 percent between 2016 and 2019 — significantly outpacing the global average of 6 percent.
For these consumers, Raymond said ingredients, particularly those they can relate to as having traditional health benefits, including flowers, roots, herbs and different kinds of tea, are a serious consideration.
“We’ve got something like 80 types of ingredients we are now developing and bringing to market,” Raymond said, adding that LF Beauty has noticed a particular uptick in interest from Chinese companies in innovative ingredient bases and formulations.
“We are now starting to see local Chinese customers, whose attitude used to be: ‘What can I copy?’ But as the country has matured and the customer has matured, the industry has also matured and the Chinese beauty companies have become a lot more creative and looking more at innovation.”
LF Beauty wants to give its clients and other relevant industry stakeholders an idea of what is possible today, in a more intimate setting than one might find at a trade show or other large-scale industry event, Raymond said.
“This is really a showcase for local companies, as well as international companies that are headquartered in Asia, for the ideas we can bring to the table. I think the days of everybody coming up with their own ideas and innovations is rapidly coming to an end, so what we want to do is showcase ideas that we believe could benefit their customers,” he said.
LF Beauty works with cosmetic, beauty, fragrance and skin-care companies from around the world on all levels of the beauty supply chain, from engineering and formulations, right through to marketing and logistics.