Sharon Kwek
Sharon is a Director of Consulting, Beauty and Personal Care, South APAC, at Mintel. With over 12 years of experience in the FMCG industry, she helps beauty manufacturers, retailers and brands make strategic business decisions across Southeast Asia.

Thailand’s beauty retail landscape is undergoing rapid evolution, attracting a wide array of local and foreign players. Strong economic growth has driven expansion and brought new trends to the market. There has also been a fundamental shift in consumers’ preferences and behaviour.

In response to this shift, local retailers are reinventing themselves to meet consumers’ evolving needs. Leading local chain store Eveandboy has undergone a facelift, transforming its image from a mass-market store to a more sophisticated shopping experience, while also expanding its brand portfolio to provide more options. Traces of K-beauty trends can be spotted on the shelves as Eveandboy aspires to be the Asian version of Ulta Beauty.

Prestige beauty is also set for growth in Thailand. B’FF, the first prestige multi-label beauty store in Bangkok, which started online, has now ventured into the physical retail space. ICON Siam is the latest development in Bangkok—yet another indication that the market is ready for premium offerings. The time is ripe for prestige beauty brands from around the world to set their sights on Thailand.

Competition heats up for ‘doctor brands’

Beauty clinics in Thailand are increasing in numbers. This is attributed to the growth of the middle class and lucrative medical tourism. As aesthetic beauty treatments become mainstream, products from dermatologists and doctors are moving into the mass market to expand their reach, with more masstige derma skincare brands taking up shelf space in mass retail chain stores.

With the rising demand for dermatologist brands, clinics the likes of Wuttisak and Romrawin have started to distribute their products through chain stores like Eveandboy, gathering faithful followers who are reassured by their strong dermatology knowledge. Meanwhile, Western derma skincare brands can gain an edge by using their advanced technology and prestige packaging to appeal to higher-income consumers.

From beauty clinics to retail stores

Romrawin Absolute Light Cream

This product contains a non-irritating formula with a brightening complex: kojic acid, dipalmitate and vitamin B3, to retexturise skin and slow down melanin formation.

Wuttisak Body UV Defense Lotion

Body UV Defense Lotion is enriched with vitamins B3, C and E, and sun protection to help nourish skin while protecting it from sun damage.

Thailand: a male grooming hotspot

Thailand has long been a market to watch when it comes to male grooming trends because of its diverse demographic groups, including transgender males. Local brands are using male ambassadors to reflect bolder consumer attitudes towards beauty. In fact, nearly half of male consumers in urban Thailand would like facial skincare products to be custom-formulated for their concerns.

While the male grooming space is growing in Thailand, the local market has not seen a corresponding increase in male claims in beauty and personal care products. According to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), between 2015 and 2018, male claims accounted for a very small percentage of total beauty and personal care product launches in the market.

As such, there is definitely a potential for beauty brands to prioritise inclusive marketing and products to appeal to Thailand’s diverse consumer groups.

Cathy Doll includes male ambassadors for cosmetics and skincare (Source: Cathy Doll)